Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Iain Sinclair

I have discovered (with a little help from an English friend) a new author. Since I am no longer able to do long walks this writer seems perfect for me. Iain Sinclair is a writer who was previously what I would call a book scout. A far as I can tell he scouted small book stores all over England and brought them back to sell to higher market bookstores in London. He’s written poetry, fiction and non-fiction. At present I’m more interested in his non-fiction. Turns out he and friends are capable walkers as well. The current book I’m reading is Edge of the Orison; In the Traces of John Clare’s ‘Journey Out of Essex.’ John Clare was an early 19th C. peasant poet, for a time adulated in London, quietly went mad, escaped from an asylum in Epping Forest, and walked home to Helpston. Sinclair and his friends try to follow his route as closely as modern roads and buildings will allow. Sinclair not only describes their journey, but tells us of John Clare’s life and problems, his own wife’s childhood and upbringing in the Helpston area and much musing about contemporary England and society. He has an unusual prose style with many phrases that only hint at sentences. It is sometimes challenging to follow his train of thought but I’m finding him thoroughly delightful. So much so that I’ve ordered a further five titles. Some concern a walk around the M25, the ring road around London, journeys through London looking at the Ripper, another book about London and others. Good reading which should keep me enthralled for some time. Since my daughter and I walked through Eping Forest from Chipping to Epping during our first trip to England when she was a teen, Clare’s escape from the asylum there was especially interesting. Later we visited many of the towns Clare walked through or which Sinclair mentions.


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