Day 40. The writer and the walker fight

Did I walk today? 

I walked through the day.

To the restaurant to eat rhubarb pie.
Back to the house that has been my home for the last four days.
Into the garden to drink some wine.
To the restaurant again to have diner with new friends. They brought their notes. They had been studying all day. Psychology. We ate too much and quoted Abraham Maslow afterwards. "Erst wenn wir satt sind und sicher sind, verlieben wir uns." I embroidered his pyramid, the hierarchy of needs, on my suit.

And now I walk through my walk, I think about what happened in the last 40 days, but it is too early to stand still, to realise what I have brought into motion.

Last year I walked 40 days and it was perfect. For a long time, even a week ago, I thought 96 days would be too long. It was hard. The first three weeks I thought about quitting every day. I never seriously considered it though. It was hard but beautiful. And at some point something changed. It was when I started to make friends. When I decided on staying from time to time. The staying never made the leaving difficult though. When you leave, you can return. You can carry your memories and they keep you warm, they feed you, they protect you.

There isn't enough time to write, to embroider my stories. The walking, meeting people comes first. Where at home I can work in the middle of the night when necessary, during the walking I can't. Too cold, too little space. It is like Maslow says. You don't get anywhere when specific needs aren't fulfilled.

I often think about a quote from the documentary about W.G. Sebald titled "Patience". "If you allow yourself to become a writer, the catastrophy will be like an avalanche, whereas if you keep walking you might be ok."

In the last days the writer took over. He had to. But every day they struggle, the writer and the walker.

The walker comes first though, even though the writer can write without the walker. He writes differently then. He walks in his own head, he walks in circles. The walker walks in all directions.

A journalist from Sweden wrote me an e-mail the other day. He is writing an article about walking for the Dagens Nyheter, the main morning newspaper in Sweden. He wants to do an interview with me. There will be an interview with Frédéric Gros as well. He is a French philosopher who wrote a book about walking, explaining why going for a walk is the best way to free your mind. In an article about him I read he doesn't have time to walk though, because he has to write.

I wonder if I could do this without writing down my stories. Maybe that should be my next challenge. Or I could start now.


Maybe soon. Maybe after I wrote down that Susan Porter, with whom I walked in Stoke-on-Trent last spring, asked me to think about walking when being in a wheelchair today. I did. It is hard to imagine it when you are standing on your two feet. I remembered a friend who has been in a wheelchair all her life writing to me about a friend of her's who said "walking is overrated". I don't think it is. But I do think walking can be much more than moving around standing on two legs.

I should write more about this subject. But not now. 


(today's story is for Susan Porter)

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