Derrick Jensen doesnít think twice about asking his writing students to walk on water. Writing about the power of words to move, to inspire and to create revolution, both emotionally and physically, Jensen understands that miracles are possible. As a writing teacher, he gives and takes from his students, wanting to teach them, yet not wanting to constrict them with formal education. As the author of such great books as A Language Other Than Words and The Culture of Make Believe, he is the Wild Man Ė instructing them, and in turn, the reader, on a deeper level.
Part writing guide, part call to action on behalf of a dying planet, part creative manifesto, this book inspires at so many levels as it celebrates the true freedom of creative thought. That writing, self-expression and politics are so intertwined is presented to the reader as a necessity for creative truth, and the authorís progressive views only serve to underscore the importance of truly being free in an industrialized world that only wants to enslave, especially when it comes to education.
As the author struggles with his own writing demons, his personal awakening as a gay man in a straight world, and his relationships to others which often become fodder for creative material, he continues to teach what he has learned and experienced to his eager and anxious students, while always keeping them at armís length enough to encourage their own independence. I was fascinated by both the back-and-forth experiences between teacher and students, where the line often got blurred as to whom was teaching whom. I was moved by the authorís call to action against the industrial forces that are destroying the planet, the environment, and, most of all, the free expression of our children, upon whom our future most depends. I was deeply inspired by the authorís understanding of why school often steals the spirit from children, serving only to instruct rather than to inspire.
Walking on Water is filled with transformational wisdom and insight that begs us as humans to stop seeking our happiness and fulfillment outside of ourselves. The title refers to a brilliant lesson that teacher imparts to students near the end of their class; a lesson that makes the impossible not only possible, but worth the risk and discomfort. The beauty and clarity of the writing is enough reason to buy this book, especially if you are a writer or someone who longs to find expression in a world that would rather you just shut up and act normal. But the main reason to buy this book is to get an understanding of the ability of words to create revolution Ė political, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and how even those who donít consider themselves talented can find their own way of freeing the spirit and listening to the call of the heart.
After all, thatís what revolution is. Listening to the call of the heart.