On walking

Yesterday I read The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick. It struck me that Gornick, in this book, first and foremost present herself as a great reader, a guide. Through clear and presise analyzes she makes her own readers (us) see how & why a text works. Very pragmatic, very useful.

The Situation and the Story is a book on personal narratives. It is divided into two parts; first Gornick writes about The Personal Essay, and then about The Memoir.

After finishing the book I did a little googling about the author, and among the things I found was a really good interview done by Jessica Gross, here is Gornick, not on writing, but on walking:

Every afternoon I get low-spirited, and one day I discovered the walk. I had some place to go on the Upper East Side, and I lived downtown on 12th Street. I decided to walk on impulse and it was three miles and it took an hour and I thought, “Oh, this is great, I feel so much better.” Lots of people know this, but I never knew it until I just stumbled on it. And then I began to make deliberate use of it. So I am always walking somewhere. I set myself a destination, and then things happen in the street.


I am an avid walker. (My tracker tells me I walk on average 11 km (6.8 Miles) every day). I belive I walk to clear my head, I do also recognize Gornick’s low spirit after a days work – . I walk to empty my head of words, to get in touch with the outside. And probably also to keep melancholy at bay.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Rio says:

    I ride a bike because it is easier on my joints. It is a wonderful feeling, that first moment almost weightless motion. It never fails to make me feel better. As for the low in the afternoon I lie down and nap for thirty minutes. I know not everyone can do this but since it is one of the few luxuries my life affords I indulge every day it is possible! I love the feeling of dissolving into ether. It is very rejuvenating!

    1. Sigrun says:

      Yes, I’m sure – a 30 min stretch would be good!

  2. cynthia says:

    That’s a lot of walking, Sigrun. Good for you. Happy to read the Gornick excerpt.

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