TEN WALKS/TWO TALKS
By Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch
Ugly Duckling Press
When you think back on the most intense and intellectually compatible friendships you've had, you probably don't think so much of specific events as the general passion that the other person's company brought out in you. I can remember a night in high school where a discussion on why the Pittsburgher sandwich had french fries on it morphed into a profound philosophical debate on how people who lived here could be so much like and unlike people who lived there.
Ten Walks/Two Talks inevitably recalls such memories as it presents a pair of dialogues between two intelligent, articulate men, differing in content if not intensity from the ones you've likely had.
As the title suggests, this slender book consists of two conversations—including a "late-night 'philosophical' ramble through Central Park"—and ten brief essays recounting walks taken in the city, each walk lasting an hour and described in 60 sentences. The "walks" are meant to evoke Basho's travel diaries, and their evocative imagery, like the "two bags of piss leaning against a tree," bring into focus the day-to-day details that so often pass unnoticed. Authors Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch are interesting speakers, but the dialogue sections feel forced, lacking a naturalistic spontaneity as they throw out obscure references in lieu of insight and focus too much on the fact they're recording their discussion.
Ten Walks is an interesting project, but you will likely bring more to it than it brings to you as it sparks memories of your own attempts to determine the Meaning of It All.