Saturday found me at the Beverley literature festival and one of the events I attended was a discussion with Nick Papadimitriou (new book "Scarp. In Search of London's Outer Limits") and Leo Critchley (new book "Skimming Stones and other ways of being wild" with Rob Cowen). Both were interested in their own individual fashion with re-connecting themselves with nature and the wild through writing, and inviting their readers to do like-wise.
Papadimitriou called himself a "radical walker", explaining that he stomps a lot and is always angry. I liked his term, though not so much his rather limp definition. It put me in mind of the French flaneurs who walked in 18th century Paris to preserve the city of the common people with their words. Or the people who walked out of the industrial towns in this country in the 19th century to reclaim access to the wilds from landowners.
I wonder if I am a radical walker. I certainly walk and write. My walking inspires my writing. As I walk I make the conscious effort to notice my environment, to harness my senses, to get out of my head. By moving away from thought, thought is re-engaged, as lines come to me which I will then capture in my journal. The thoughts that come, however, often have the feel of coming from outside of me, unbidden. They are frequently more visceral, more of the moment, and less of the eternal irresolvable ruminating that I can get into. I believe that my radical walking inspires pieces which are more innovative and engaging.
And, yes, sometimes my radical walking is an effective way of stomping out my anger too!