Saturday, November 7, 2009

Talking the Walk


One of the most rewarding aspects of publishing a memoir on mental illness has been the opportunity to speak to different groups of people about the many matters that fall under the umbrella term “mental health.” Doing this–in venues that have included a hospital (the one where I once spent a year and a half), a bookstore, an art gallery, a church, and various meeting centres and community halls–I’ve been struck by the sheer need of so many people to talk about these issues. A need, it’s very clear, that is mostly unmet. At times, the urge of unburdening that fills the room has felt almost overwhelming.

The talks have been an evolving process. Each time I’ve written something new for the occasion, while incorporating pieces of previous talks. So each talk represents a further stage in climbing a rock face–or descending into a rock pit, since the same muscles and equipment are needed to explore upward as downward–...reaching out from a line of pitons already secured, in order to hammer in one or two more.

Three of these talks–one audio-visual, one audio-only, and one text–are posted in their entirety online, and are accessible from the links on the upper righthand side of this blog.

Some listeners have asked me, however, for printouts of particular points made in the talks. To supply these, and to review the points myself, I will be entering portions here over the next few weeks. Where necessary, I will make slight adjustments so the passage stands better alone. I hope, too, that in the process new thoughts will occur to me, which I can include as additional entries.

Whenever, over the years, I heard the question: “Do you talk the talk, or walk the walk?”–I always had an unsatisfied sense of only two doors? I get to talk, or walk...that’s it? I would rather talk the walk and walk the talk...if I can.

Talking the Walk, Walking the Talk.

Or, since people tell me that in these Twitter Times no title should exceed three words: Talking the Walk.

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