Walking in the city (Reader’s Response)

This week’s reader’s response is brought to you by a reading called “Walking in the city” by Michel de Certeau. You get a chill running down your spine only after the first few pages when Michel describes the World Trade Center as “only the most monumental figure of Western urban development.” Bear in mind, this book was written in the 80s. Not that I disagree; it’s absolutely true that the World Trade Center is and was a monumental figure. This is a dense reading, no doubt. There are a lot of fancy, flavorful words used often and with great relish. The reading (spoilers!) talks about walking. At first I thought I was going to be reading something that had to do with Monty Python and their Ministry of Silly Walks. I wish I was that lucky but no dice. De Certeau puts words to an action but does more than that; de Certeau basically breaks it all down to a refined science. Paradoxical in nature, the author utilizes several examples including synecdoche and asyndeton to give a “more is more and less and more” sort of feel to when the reader happens to be taking a walk and would like to describe everything seen. I’m not entirely sure how I feel after reading this particular work. On one side, I feel as if I’ve a kinship with the author, how the author parlays walking with people watching and makes me fee nostalgic. I used to walk and drive for the sake of walking and driving just to see where it would take me. Once I walked all of downtown Fort Collins. Another time I decided to drive and drive until I accidentally found myself in grand island, Nebraska. On another side, I feel stupid for never recording these experiences. I’ve a unique memory and it does not permit me to forget anything. Nothing. Nada. My memory merely files away the information and logs it for later use. For what use is entirely up to my mind. It is the cause of many anxiety attacks. I feel that this particular piece is going to be a cornerstone from which I begin to truly document my experiences and make it mine and not just exposition art. I’ve not a lot of time so I better get started.

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