That which you manifest is before you

Through a completely random act, I started reading Garth Stein’s book “The Art of Racing in the Rain”.  I set a personal record finishing a book; I picked it up Friday night and finished it last night.  Simply put, you must read this book.

My dad gave me this book about a year or so ago, and as usual for me, I added it into the rotation.  I have a crazy habit of reading 3 or 4 books at a time.  “Freakonomics”, “Helmet for My Pillow”, and the Skip Barber instructional book “Going Faster!” were sitting on my bedside table with bookmarks marking various positions of completion.  I read the first few chapters and with the mentions of the 1993 European Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna, and other random thoughts from a human soul trapped in the body of a dog, I found it cute.  But also as usual for me, something else grabbed my attention and I put the book down.

Shortly after putting the book down, I started planning in earnest for my trip to Le Mans.  Books on Paris and photography, as well as this site occupied my time for the better part of the last 9 months.  And now I’m off to Atlanta for Petit Le Mans next weekend.  Luckily, getting to and from Atlanta is considerably easier than getting to Paris and Le Mans, so I’m not as buried as I was earlier this year.

For my birthday, Ted gave me a collection of short stories written by Phillip K. Dick that includes “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” – the short story that one of my all-time favorite movies, Blade Runner, is based on.  I immediately added it to my reading rotation.  It’s an interesting story about a former San Francisco police officer whose job it is to “retire” rogue androids that are on Earth illegally in the distant future of 1992.  Flying cars, mood enhancers, electric animals, androids…it’s a fascinating story written back in the ’60s.  The movie is fairly loyal to the story and it’s interesting to learn about certain details the movie leaves out.

I’m almost finished with this story and was looking forward to reading another one set in an alternate universe where the Germans and Japanese won WWII.  That is, until late last week when I stumbled across an online comment that reminded me of Racing in the Rain.  I don’t know why, but I got up, dusted it off and got to reading.  Sorry Ted.

In bed, the first few chapters flew by.  The story of struggling racecar driver Denny Swift and his dog, Enzo, begins as a retrospective with Enzo looking back on his life.  Filled with events that shaped the lives of Denny and Enzo,  both on and off the track.  It’s a beautiful story about love, loss, an unbreakable friendship, and life lessons.  Filled with inspirational nuggets like “that which you manifest is before you” and “somewhere, the zebra is dancing“, mean little to the uninitiated, but upon reading the book, you can’t help but give them deeply personal meanings as I have.

Like I said, I set a personal record for finishing a book.  5 days from start to finish.  I wasn’t in a rush to finish the book, I just couldn’t put it down.  After the OU/FSU game at Jerry’s Saturday night, I got home and read till almost 2AM.  I forced myself to put the book down so I could get some sleep.  I found it a struggle to not pick up the book while watching the Cowboys game on Sunday afternoon.  Monday night, after a furious round of team deathmatch on Black Ops, I was up reading again till well after 1AM.

After finishing the book last night, I started writing this post in my head.  I can’t stop thinking about this book.  I loved the bits racing of racing sprinkled in between the events of Denny and Enzo’s lives.  Sure, racing terms and locations like weight transfer, Watkins Glen, tire adhesion, Sears Point and Formula Renault may not make sense to you, but they are minor details that don’t get in the way of the story.  Although, having recently seen the Ayrton Senna documentary, some of the closing chapters were particularly meaningful.

The story made me laugh at times and cry at others.  I found myself hating certain characters while cheering for Denny and Enzo.  It forced me to sit up, take notice of what I’m reading and take notes.  I actually wrote down thoughts from this book.

I didn’t want to finish this book.  I wanted to keep reading about Denny and Enzo.  I was disappointed – not in the story, but that I was done reading.  I’m not saying it’s going to move you the same way it moved me, but you need to read this book.  You don’t need to be a racing fan or a dog lover to understand this book, you just need to be human.

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One Comment on “That which you manifest is before you”

  1. Donnna says:

    I didn’t want the book to end, but I knew what the end result was going to be, and I didn’t want to face that realty of life. Because death is a reality at the end of life, right?
    I agree that Denny and Enzo shared a very special relationship, and unless one has loved an animal in that way, they might not be able to relate the same way to this book.


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