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Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Review: An Occasional Walker

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

A readable and unique book!

An Occasional Walker is a modern Canterbury Tales — albeit with political twists related to the world's state of affairs today.

But do not conclude that this book is all about politics! Rather, An Occasional Walker resonates with humor, satire, and personal anecdotes, which are poignant at times. The author is clearly a wordsmith who knows how to use the English language efficaciously so as to engage the reader.

The episodic nature of this book and the reader-friendly length of the chapters allow the reader to enjoy Mr. Walker's writing in snippets — in the order presented or according to one's own preference. I recently took An Occasional Walker with me when I went on vacation and found myself returning to the book again and again as time allowed.

I highly recommend this book, available for purchase at Amazon, and look forward to more books written by D.W. Walker.

[This essay by Mr. Walker prompted me to buy his book]


  1. Sounds like a nice read.

    I have cut back on the number of book reviews that I do. Life is too short to be stuck reading a book out of obligation. I've had a couple like that. It was a chore forcing myself to read them so I could simply be done with them.

    However, I suppose the number of good books that come our way make up for the few stinkers, ha.

    Right Truth

    1. Dag didn't ask me to read the book. I like his writing -- I used to blog with him at Infidel Bloggers Alliance before he departed for Iquitos, Peru -- and discovered that he had a published book. His next book will be released before long.

  2. Well, AOW, I read Mr. Walker’s essay, and have to say I was very troubled by his literary style -- at first. The following examples show a good cross section of what kept causing me to raise my eyebrows repeatedly as I read along:

    ”Now it must be something like urgent, me closing in on 60.”

    “... we being a floating dozen or so characters who live expatly in Iquitos ...”

    “... there's no real point in pissing away the cash ...”

    “ ...Adrian, my evil twin from Australia, is feuding with a personality-disordered Dutch homosexual who is slagging Adrian's start-up business in the jungle. ...”

    “... being as we, the geezers on the Malecon, are friends and all.”

    “ ... to dismissively wave away ...”

    “... I am a sensitive guy, though, and I can't bear the thought of further rejection. ...”

    After a while, however, I began to realize this guy Walker is putting us on. Surely he knows better, but is deliberately using this colloquial parlance to establish a comedic, self-mocking tone that might be appropriate for an intelligent-but-higy-irreverent dropout. The man is something of a latter day Jack Kerouac or a Hippie Redux -- a throwback to the Sick-sties with a perspective that comes from maturity -- sense of irony at the uselessness and determined self-indulgence of the way he has chosen to drift through life.

    I guess treating imminent death humorously is as good a way as any to stave off the Terror at the Prospect of Ceasing to Exist that all of us surely feel at bottom.

    What may be the message here? Cracking jokes about the essential futility and meaningless of Existence -- and non-existence -- may be as good a way as any of getting through the experience, perhaps?

    I really had to laugh out loud when I read “I am a sensitive guy” after he’d given us hundreds of words deliberately calculated to give the opposite impression.

    Sorry. I am just not a modern person. I admit the anomalous character I have turned out to be is the product of choice. I made up my mind at an early age to live by the standards of a bygone era -- several actually -- that have always struck me as more appealing than contemporary aims, styles and practices. I cannot claim to be pious, but at the same time I deplore the cynicism, pointed, nose-thumbing irreverence and lack of decorum seen everywhere today.

    Awful, ain't it? ;-)

    1. FT,
      Dag is a sort of Mark Twain -- that is, a satirist.

      I can assure you that he can write in a very erudite style; I well know this because we blogged together at Infidel Bloggers Alliances.

      That he has chosen not to write in an erudite style sends a particular message.

      Read some of the reviews at Amazon.

      One review:

      This is a fine book, well structured and containing a deep sense of allegory so lacking in much of modern literature. The reader may or may not choose to agree or otherwise with the political position of the author but his feeling for language and at times, quirky sense of humour shines like a beacon to illuminate tales such as Christmas. Read it!

    2. I understand, AOW. Sorry to be the odd man out, but very frankly I've never been one of Mark Twain's greatest fans either. There's something about the aura of rustic, rough-cut, knockabout, nose-thumbing cynicism and irreverence that depresses me. You're right about your friend Walker's resemblance to Twain, although I don't think Twain ever went so far as to use the F-Word or the S-Word in print. I'm old-fashioned still to recoil when I see that.

      If I had lived in the nineteenth century, I would NOT have been one of those eager to "go west."

      If I had lived in the eighteenth century, I probably would have stayed loyal to Mother England, and as you well know, if I had been in Abraham Lincoln's shoes, I would definitely NOT have led the nation into Civil War and been responsible for killing 635,000 men, maiming countless thousands of others, and ruining the lives and property of untold MILLIONS. I would have let The South go with my cheerful blessing, and kept the door opened for her to return later when -- and IF -- The South felt herself ready.

      It may sound callous to say it, but the slave situation was about ready to EVOLVE itself out of existence anyway. The Machine Age was coming on very fast by 1860. The Industrial Revolution would have rendered slave ownership Old Hat, because it would no longer have been profitable.

    3. FT,
      Dag and I are of the same generation. As a result, we don't recoil much from the f-bomb.

      I note that Dag uses the f-bomb somewhat sporadically -- perhaps more often at his blog than in his books.

  3. From "Chuck's Surprise Cremation Party (Part One)" at Dag's web site, and it prompted me to buy his book:

    About ten years ago I realised that I was close to death – nearing 50 – which is pretty much the end-- and that I had to get busy researching it all if I were to do it right. There's no second chance. I had to read a lot of books about death so I wouldn't blow this last thing in this life I would ever do. Now it must be something like urgent, me closing in on 60. I've read enough about death by now to bore most people to the grave no matter how old they are. So, my next step is to hang out with Chuck who is older than dinosaurs. Chuck is in his 70s, and he's looking into cremation in Iquitos, Peru. He's going to Chicago soon to go skydiving again, around his 30th jump or so, but when he returns he has to be ready for the eternal dirt nap-- Death. He's a tidy kind of guy and doesn't want to leave himself lying around when he's gone. He's looking into a prepaid cremation plan in Iquitos now since he cancelled the one he had in Miami. No point in a cremation plan in Miami if he's dead in the Amazon. It would cost a lot to fly his corpse all the way up there to Fla., and since Chuck would be dead there's no real point in pissing away the cash on the trip. We're looking into him getting cremated in town....

    Read the rest at the link, and be prepared to laugh out loud.

  4. Thanks for the review. I'm always on the look out for good books.

  5. Replies
    1. As erudite as Dag is, he may well have adapted the book title from that source. I didn't pick up on that possibility. As you probably have surmised, I'm not much into philosophy. The emphasis in my college studies was psychology -- because of the requirements for getting a teaching certificate.

  6. No, no, no, not one chance ever that I would refer my writing to Rousseau.

    The title comes from "occasional" writing, meaning works written for occasions. In this case, I write of public occasions such as Easter, D-Day, 4th of July, 9-11, Halloween, Christmas, and others. In other pieces I write of private occasions, such as seeing a train across the valley, watching friends die, seeing a beautiful manifestation of Modernity in the form of, for example, a candlestick telephone or a typewriter.

    Rousseau is everything I despise in our world today. On that I am passionate in my hatred. Even where Rousseau is lauded for his style (in French) I fail to see the charm. My writing is often condemned as convoluted and dense. I have no concerns there. My worries today are that because I was in Bolivia when my book was published and edited by a Leftist who obviously hates me, the book suffers from what seems to me deliberate sabotage that I cannot from the Amazon jungle correct. If you purchase my book, I must ask that you accept the flaws as they are and try to enjoy the book in spite of the problems.

    M next three books will be out shortly, and those I will have editorial control over. Those I must accept full responsibility for, and I assume they will be as professionally done as is humanly possible. For An Occasional Walker, I ask that one simply shrug and make the best of what would otherwise have been a very nice book, one that has its charms and suffers now in the hope of later coming back to a better condition.

    My book, if I dare say so myself, is worth the small money it takes to buy it. The pain of such a poor presentation too should be bearable.

    Thank you all for your attention.


    Iquitos, Peru

    Sept. 2013.

    1. Dag,
      I thought that you might be satirizing Rousseau in your book title. A little stab in his direction was my thought in that regard.

      Your books is certainly worth the small money it takes to buy it!

      As for the presentation I overlooked all the mechanical errors -- not yours, of course but rather the carelessness of the editor! I am a member in good standing of The Grammar Police, but the "tales" you told were so good that I found myself reading for content and tone.

      I'm sure that your next books will be in keeping with my Grammar Police standards. Please notify me when your books are available for purchase.

  7. One would never guess from the things I write on the Internet that I spent a good part of my life behind the scenes, as it were, in journalism working as a copy editor. I never quite got the hang of computers, and when I first started using one on a daily basis, back when I began commenting at Jihad Watch, I would write long and serious comments, only to find the "time out" function had erased all my copy. I didn't then understand the save function, so I would race as quickly through what I wrote and punch "send" before it all timed out. I am still in that bad habit.

    When it comes to serious writing, as I call it, I am a perfecionist. This book now, An Occasional Walker, hurts me to look at. I attempted to correct the tyops, but the connection here in the deep Amazon jungle means it is nearly impossible to download such a huge file. It hurts, but I live with it. My next book will be better.

    My next book is actually three books, all of them about Iquitos, Peru. If I can find a publisher, I will have a book out this coming week:

    D.W. Walker, Almost Close.

    That book is a three section work covering the city in general, news and history and other themes anecdotal, and the second section focusing on a slum area with one of the world's most exotic markets. Part Three includes stories of people, Chuck, who is still very much alive and still very much looking for a way out of being cremated any time soon, for example.

    I'll be back with more about the other two books later. Suffice to say, one is about architecture, and the other is about ayahuasca, a jungle drug people from around the world spend great fortunes to drink.

    I do hope people will give my other book a chance.

    And thank you for all of your kind words-- from one Grammar Cop to another.

    1. I, too, suffered those timeouts at Jihad Watch especially when I had a dial-up connection. Cubed of Sixth Column taught me to copy and save so that my comments didn't get lost in the ether. Later, my friend Mustang taught me to compose my comments in Word, then copy and paste them to comments sections. I have a lot of intuition about using a computer, but somehow I rarely think of the obvious.

      When it comes to serious writing, as I call it, I am a perfecionist. This book now, An Occasional Walker, hurts me to look at.

      Those of us who have done a lot of editing dating back to years ago are finding more and more that the new proofreaders and editors aren't worth a flip. The small groups of high school students whom I teach can proofread and edit better than the professionals.

      I do envy you the life you have in the Amazon jungle. "Civilization" isn't all that civilized these days. I guess that I'm getting old to say such a thing!

  8. The funny thing about living in South America, which I think you and many of your readers will think of as a land of generals with too many decorations and sunglasses far too dark, is that this is a land of freedom for the likes of me and us. No death squads, no sleazy bureaucrats taking bribes, no vicious policemen threatening the unwary traveller. Here in Peru, especially in the Amazon jungle, I have found a place of personal freedom where I can if I so chose buy a big Gulp soda.

    I sometimes just because I can walk across the street dodging the motocarros, motorcycles with covered benches, and I do it in the middle of the street right toward a couple of traffic cops. They don't give out jay-walking tickets. No such thing here. One dodges traffic so one doesn't get hit. Common sense. And if I wanted to, I could smoke a big stinking cigar in a cafe. No one would like it, but no one would say a thing about it. Thus, no one would do such a thing as smoke in a cafe unless everyone was smoking, which few here do. They drive past, sometimes five on a motorcycle, and they smile at the world. No seat belts, no helmets, no licences, no insurance, no exhaust inspections, just families going about their lives in peace and relative prosperity without the government ripping and tearing at every corner.

    I have written a whole book about my time here this past year and some in Iquitos. In fact, I have written three books about this city. The first is now on my desk awaiting another day of copy editing and proofreading. I love this kind of work, the making of art out of a mess. "Iquitos, Peru: Almost Close" is almost ready to ask for a printer. People here who have followed my progress over the past year as I researched and published pieces of it are pretty excited by it all.

    I have a second book, "Confessions of an Ayahuasca Skeptic" that is close to completion. Ayahuasca is a favourite drug of the "New Age" middle age neurotic from coastal America nowadays. I've taken it three times, and since it has no effect on me I have to keep on trying so I can write about it and end this account. The history and the subculture, if nothing else, is fascinating, to see how our best and brightest are like whingers off the bottle crying for mother. Literally crying for "Mother Ayahausca" as if they are contestants on the Oprah Winfrey show.

    My favourite book of the lot is "Iquitos,Peru: History Through Architecture."

    One hundred years ago this was a famous and fabulously wealthy city during the Rubber Boom. What remains of that time, the buildings, and the history one can find by digging through the remains of records in the jungle, all of it is wonderful to this wandering and homeless old guy.

    These three books as soon as possible.

    And many thanks to those who ordered my book. It helps me survive, if not so much in terms of money, then in terms of hope that someday I will actually find a greater readership and that all this will have been something more than a Quiotic quest of a "strange old man," as someone said of me recently.


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