August 1, 2008

How to Walk

The new issue of Today's Woman magazine is released today and with it my essay about how to walk.

One of the three forms of walking I talk about is a method depicted in Bodmin Moor Zodiac, a book by my cousin Nigel Ayers. The book describes his innovative style of walking one of the moors near his home in Cornwall. Nigel's website says, "This book is what literature should be about; intensity of language, deranged visions and cultural de-programming."

I'm clear on what he means by the intensity of language and the deranged vision. They are perhaps part of our shared genetic inheritance. The cultural deprogramming, though... Did I know that was the point of literature?

I was an English major; I must have known. Perhaps it got lost in the rigors of divinity school and in pastoring, where appearing normal helped make palatable the anti-corporate, anti-war vision of the New Testament. It's more likely I used a different language. "Cultural deprogramming" was translated, poorly, into "standing apart." Standing is passive; deprogramming is active. Not only is it a stronger language but it also names the stultifying nature of the opponent, culture.

Nigel is British. I'm American. Our cultural circumstance is very different. That's why I only have flashes of understanding what he's saying. That's okay. The flashes occur more often these days. Eventually they'll unite into a renewed vision. That's the goal, isn't it? It's not about going to Wales to walk the Bodmin Moor zodiac. It's about walking a zodiac (in the American vernacular, ala Thoreau, walking "to a different drummer") in our own communities.

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