This one walking injury apparently didn't diminish Nicholson's love of walking. Walking was essential. He found after moving to L.A. and its pedestrian-unfriendly streets, he became depressed. Then he saw a newsbit from Duke University suggesting walking cured depression as effectively as antidepressants. He'd also read something similar in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). A light went off in his head: All his adult life he'd walked: London and NYC. Why stop with L.A.?
One of the virtues of Nicholson's writing is an unflagging interest for getting details right: Street by street, he follows the footsteps of Raymond Chandler to divine the settings for the Marlowe noirs; he finds where Aldous Huxley lived in the Hollywood Hills; he walks down the Franklin Avenue of Joan Didion in her yellow Corvette days.
The famous walking characters brought to life are too numerous to single out. But speed, endurance and distance walkers are all here. (And for moon walking, the inside story that Buzz Aldrin was supposed to be first, but Neil Armstrong pulled rank on him ...).
The most touching walker profile, however, is saved for the penultimate chapter. Nicholson relates growing up in an English "council estate" (somewhat akin to an American housing project) and the carless, walking life of the poor like his family. A moving story suggests he got his walker's endurance from his mom.
If you've ever lacked motivation for more walking in your life, then Geoff Nicholson's The Lost Art of Walking is a good first step.
The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, Philosophy, and Literature of Pedestrianism by Geoff Nicholson, Riverhead Books, 2009, 278 pp., ISBN: 978-1-5948-403-2.
Read Charlie Dickinson's
story collection, The Cat
at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable
11:10:13 The Cultural Revolution Cookbook, a book review
10:23:13 The Biker Angel
10:11:13 No Self-Serve Gas in Oregon
9:28:13 A Street Cat Named Bob, a book review
9:23:13 The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, a book review
9:18:13 Autumn Leaves
8:19:13 The Worst Car Driver & Why
8:12:13 The Gardener from Ochakov, a book review
7:25:13 Le Havre by Kaurismaki
7:20:13 This Ain't California
6:27:13 The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, a book review
5:29:13 My Linux (Mis)Adventures
5:25:13 Southern Cross the Dog, a book review
5:5:13 Russian Tumbleweed
4:16:13 "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster
3:25:13 Moore's Law
3:13:13 Grocery Shopping
2:28:13 Razor Blade in Moonlight
1:27:13 Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, a book review
12:9:12 White Bread, a book review
12:4:12 Update on Old-School Shaving
11:12:12 Ten Great Buys at Dollar Tree
11:6:12 My New Russian Camera
10:29:12 Leaf Day
10:2:12 The Russian Navy in New York?
9:21:12 The Righteous Mind, a book review
9:14:12 Revolution, 1989, a book review
8:23:12 Train Whistles in the Night
8:2:12 Why I've Stockpiled Light Bulbs
7:22:12 Old-School Shaving
7:16:12 Злектроника МК-52, computer de minimus
7:4:12 Ivan's Childhood by Tarkovsky
6:21:12 The Unabomber, a modern Thoreau?
6:12:12 Do the gods exist?
6:7:12 My "Retail Therapy"
5:28:12 On Taxes, We Should Go Green
5:17:12 Portland's Trash
5:6:12 The Toaster Project, a book review
4:24:12 No Seconds
4:12:12 Portland's Runaway Utility Bill
4:8:12 The Repossession, a book review
3:30:12 How I Got Published in Mississippi Review
3:9:12 The End of Money, a book review
2:18:12 Beauty Plus Pity, a book review
2:5:12 Kirk's Castile Soap
1:29:12 Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer, a book review
1:22:12 Thirst, a book review
1:17:12 My IBM ThinkPad 1999-2012
1:11:12 String Beans
12:22:11 Spiritual TMJ
12:16:11 1Q84, a book review
12:11:11 How Portland Became Portlandia
12:1:11 The Fixie
11:20:11 Camus' Insight
11:13:11 Old & Worthy
11:7:11 Life Is Tragic
10:31:11 A Matter of Death and Life, a book review
10:25:11 Dead Letter, Email Fatigue
10:18:11 Reinventing Collapse, a book review
10:11:11 Rereading Pirsig
10:1:11 The Sisters Brothers, a book review
9:26:11 The Great Stagnation, a book review
9:16:11 Coffee, The Affordable Luxury
9:12:11 The Genius of Value
9:5:11 Death and the Penguin, a book review