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THE ART OF BODY MAINTENANCE AND PERFORMANCE

I compare my novel Time is Gold (2019) with a book I love, Robert Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), reputed to be the most popular philosophy book ever written, selling over 5 million copies.

Time is Gold is fiction with a similar philosophical underpinning.

The genre of Persig’s novel is a roman-a’-clef, in which real people or events appear with invented names, in much more than a travel story. Time is Gold is a coming-of-age epic adventure thriller.

Both books are steeped in Zen philosophy applied to adventuring. 

Robert Persig cared for his motorbike, often taking it to pieces and reassembling it, the way people care for their horses. In his book The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance he demonstrates his Zen philosophy of ‘quality’ living, with care as a compromise between mechanical classicism and romantic spirituality. His son, Chris, goes with him as pillion passenger on a long journey and learns his philosophy of ‘quality’. 

In Time is Gold, Maxi is a schoolgirl with running talent whose training is taken over by a team of expert coaches from whom she learns ‘extreme flow’, a philosophy of optimal performance time. Jack Cram is a university research student who helps his girlfriend Maxi to combine, physiology, physics, psychology and neuroscience and Zen in her training. Her story is punctuated with marathon race reports in high level competition.

Maxi tunes up her body for marathon running like a complex technology, in the Zen way, with her attention on goals and processes but not outcomes. Maxi balances physical and mental demands as she approaches Zen mastery.

The protagonists’ journeys are seldom downhill. Phaedrus, Persig’s autobiographer, contends with the aftermath of an earlier nervous breakdown. Jack’s career in industry gets off to a rocky start. These experiences open them to radical experimentation to achieve their personal needs. They have successes, becoming euphoric, with some poetic descriptions.

Maxi’s racing is punctuated by coaching dialogues, whereas Persig’s protagonist Phaedrus reflects between adventures.

Readers interested in endurance and resilience in any field of performance or problem solving will be enlightened by Time is Gold. Why do athletes inspire us so much? 

Available from Amazon. Reviews at https://martinknox.com

WORK AT HOME IN EXTREME FLOW

You may already be using ‘flow’ for optimal achievement that is timeless. Extreme flow is ultra goal-focussed, fully mentally engaged and skilled to automaticity. Enforced isolation is an opportunity to attain these through more concentration, less disruption and honing of your skills in any occupation. Benefits are improved performance, dilation of your time and delay of aging. My novel Time is Gold explains how an endurance runner trains to break the world record using Extreme Flow. Book available on Amazon https://martinknox.com

HOW MUCH TRAINING IS JUSTIFIABLE?

‘It’ll be all right on the night’ is the philosophy that a performance will be successful, overcoming problems earlier. Performers can be athletes, sports players, stage artistes, musicians, artists, writers or orators. The presence of an audience, other competitors or judges can possibly stimulate achievement surpassing what they had attained previously in training, practice or rehearsal. A performer who has a large home crowd on the edge of their seats usually does her best.

A performer can’t count on rising to the occasion. Having achieved a personal best in training is an advantage. Not all training is for fine tuning. Training can be done for preparation, technique development and refinement, physical testing, assessment, familiarisation, habituation to venue and climate, lowering of perceived effort, hypertrophy and to build self-confidence. Practice and rehearsal aim to anticipate performance and competition conditions. At an elite level, ‘It’ll be all right on the night’ is less acceptable and instead many performers follow long, intense training programmes.

In my novel ‘Time is Gold’ Maxi experiments with and learns to use Extreme Flow for an attempt on the world marathon record, coached by her physicist partner Jack and a team of experts in psychology, physiology, neuroscience and Zen. The story is futuristic and describes fine-tuning for top performance. Available on Amazon https://martinknox.com

Review of novel Time is Gold

Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite: 5 STARS

Time is Gold by Martin Knox is a brilliantly plotted and well-written novel that centers on a strong and original concept. Maxi Fleet wants just one thing: to run faster than any female has ever run before. She is training to beat the world. Stan has offered a lot of support, supervising and guiding her as she trains to compete in a future marathon. Maxi is determined to push herself beyond the limits and achieve her dream, and there is a strong support system to help her as she pursues this dream. Jack Cram is a PhD student in physics who is working on a revolutionary concept of stretching time. In Maxi, he finds the best opportunity to experiment on his theory, and if he succeeds, it will be a breakthrough for him and the scientific community. Can his idea of “extreme-flow” improve Maxi’s performance and produce the desired results? 

This is a wonderful story with elaborately developed themes, including love, ambition, hard work and pain, the drive for success, performance, and friendship. Set in the future, it has strong psychological and scientific underpinnings. The story is told in an absorbing first-person narrative, a style the author uses with mastery and it establishes a real connection between readers and the characters. The story has a premise that got me hooked right off the bat and I loved the bold ideas developed in this novel, especially the concept of “extreme-flow.” This concept stipulates that anyone can perform better by getting into the flow that is extremely engaged. Hence marathon runners and others who embrace endurance with cognitive vigor can bolster their time, bit by bit, crossing finishing lines earlier, inserting additional accomplishment and staying younger. Time is Gold is a classic novel, speculative in style, hugely engaging, and featuring tight and excellent writing. While I loved the plot points, it was the depth with which the characters are written that had me turning the pages.

Information https://martinknox.com

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