“From the first moment I took to my desk and touched a needle-sharp pencil to a steno pad, I felt a sense of correctness that I have never known before or since.”
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney is about a woman I can relate to on so many levels. Lillian is a copywriter who loves living in the city. That could be my Twitter bio. And a big part of this book is about walking in an urban environment (aka flânerie), an activity I’ve been in love with ever since I moved to the city almost a decade ago. I’ve never owned a car. Hell, I’ve barely driven one (just enough to acquire my driver’s licence). Living and working in the city gives me the opportunity to walk everywhere, something that I continue to be grateful for every single day, even when it’s freezing cold, or raining, or when a stranger gets in my face and does something weird. In this interview for Electric Literature, Rooney says it perfectly: “Walking means so much to me that it’s difficult to distill what I love — the physicality and rhythm, the potential for meditation, the freedom, the chance encounters with strangers — into a single response, which I suppose is why I had to write a novel about it.”
Kathleen Rooney teaches a workshop on The Writer as Urban Walker at DePaul University, and I can’t tell you how much I’d love to attend that. It won’t shock you to learn that I love this book. Every word of it. I only wish I could remember who recommended it to me so I could send them a thank you note.
What are you reading?