In Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim (click here to purchase the book), I describe “the torture chamber of Catholic grade school” and write about beatings by nuns “too old to teach and too senile to care.” These experiences were pushed out of my mind long ago. Yet walking and writing brought them back to the surface.
Sharing those reflections before 85 people at the book launch on December 2 in Des Moines was difficult. Really difficult. It brought me to tears. I had to pass the book off to Sarah Spain, who kindly finished reading that page for me.
Sharing other excerpts from the book — the discomfort of walking so far, challenges faced by other marchers, my failure in love, witnessing climate disruption as we walked, even roadkill — made my voice crack. That’s rarely happened before, not during hundreds and hundreds of speeches I’ve given on disturbing and emotional issues.
The Great March for Climate Action — the journey itself, writing about it, and now sharing it publicly — has been an immensely formative experience in my life. I didn’t know how the book would impact me. I also didn’t know how it would be received by others, yet I’m gratified at the responses I’ve received:
“Not being an avid reader I was amazed at how hard it was to put the book down.”
“Great insight on the struggles of environmental activism. … Loved hearing about the people you encountered in your travels.”
“I thought it would be boring, but it’s actually really, really interesting.”
“… profoundly thought-provoking and very entertaining.”
“Ed boldly faces the stings of loneliness, lost love, extreme pain and discomfort, unpredictable weather, and attempted mutiny as he leads Climate Marchers across the United States.”
Most important, I hope Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim helps fuel the growing sense of urgency about climate change — before it’s too late. During the next year, I’ll hold over 100 book readings across Iowa and the US. If you’d like to schedule one in your community, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you. — Ed