Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution by Derrick Jensen


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  • Pub. Date: April 2005
  • 226pp
  • Sales Rank: 346,485
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    Product Details

    • Pub. Date: April 2005
    • Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
    • Format: Paperback, 226pp
    • Sales Rank: 346,485


    Remember the days of longing for the hands on the classroom clock to move faster? Most of us would say we love to learn, but we hated school. Why is that? What happens to creativity and individuality as we pass through the educational system?

    Walking on Water is a startling and provocative look at teaching, writing, creativity, and life by a writer increasingly recognized for his passionate and articulate critique of modern civilization. This time Derrick Jensen brings us into his classroom--whether college or maximum security prison--where he teaches writing. He reveals how schools perpetuate the great illusion that happiness lies outside of ourselves and that learning to please and submit to those in power makes us into lifelong clock-watchers. As a writing teacher Jensen guides his students out of the confines of traditional education to find their own voices, freedom, and creativity.

    Jensen's great gift as a teacher and writer is to bring us fully alive at the same moment he is making us confront our losses and count our defeats. It is at the center of Walking on Water, a book that is not only a hard-hitting and sometimes scathing critique of our current educational system and not only a hands-on method for learning how to write, but, like Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, a lesson on how to connect to the core of our creative selves, to the miracle of waking up and arriving breathless (but with dry feet) on the far shore.

    Publishers Weekly

    Writing teacher Jensen doesn't believe in the traditional grading system, which he calls "a cudgel to bludgeon the unwilling into doing what they don't want to do," so he opts instead to give his students at Eastern Washington University check marks: one check mark for turning in a piece of writing, four for editing that writing into perfection. For this opinionated offering on writing, teaching and the state of the world, Jensen deserves four checkmarks for courage. His ideas are always radical and often inspiring. He rails against the public education system frequently and with refreshing humor, telling students their papers "have to be good enough-interesting enough-that I would rather read them than make love." Drawing on his personal experience, he castigates what he sees as formal education's lack of creativity and flexibility for personal style. Jensen's strength lies in his honest, provocative, passionate approach. The rawness of his ideas is this book's virtue, but it's also its vice. When Jensen makes seemingly random forays into commentary on the demise of the environment or political consciousness (subjects he explored in earlier books like The Culture of Make Believe), his writing becomes long-winded and unfocused. He loses sight of his own seventh rule of writing, which he so dramatically relays to his students: clarity. But more importantly, Jensen's first, second, third and fourth rules of writing are "Don't bore the reader." In that effort, he succeeds masterfully. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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    Derrick Jensen is the prize-winning author of A Language Older than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, Listening to the Land, Strangely Like War, Welcome to the Machine, and Walking on Water. He was one of two finalists for the 2003 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, which cited The Culture of Make Believe as "a passionate and provocative meditation on the nexus of racism, genocide, environmental destruction and corporate malfeasance, where civilization meets its discontents." He writes for The New York Times Magazine, Audubon, and The Sun Magazine among many others. He is an environmental activist and lives on the coast of northern California.

    Customer Reviews

    I have changed the way I used to think.....helped me alottttby umm-e-aiman

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    March 19, 2011: school was always and sometimes still is a torture for me..five days, 8 to 9 hours of school i hated it. since childhood we have been brainwashed that we have to obey the system. SYSTEM IS NEVER WRONG. Going to work on time, doing a 9 to 5 job, low on cash wait until pay day that's all we do our lives is WAIT for the time to come, but after reading this book i think we should snatch the time and make some change...if you want to work don't..obviously you will come across a lot of hardship but that's when you will learn, experience life. Jensen ask How well can education foster the uniqueness of a child. Education has become a industrialized mass culture instead of individuality, creativity and enrichment. By telling us some short stories about his class tells they way of how to teach and how to recognize each individuals creativity, he also gives an alternative vision of education. Jensen moves in and out the matters and focus on the larger issue which is how to be human in this dehumanization world. you can also get good writing tips from some its chapters. Especially recommend for teachers and people of industrialized mass culture.

    A Must read book!by Jamila18

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    March 18, 2011: This is the first book I've read from Derrick Jensen but it's a great book and I would recommend to everyone. Jensen speaks the truth about everything on writing and life. He sounds like a great teacher and i wish I had a teacher like him in school to show me the true meaning of writing. Jensen also steps into your life by helping you find yourself and changes your perspective of life. I love how in this book he is very versatile in his teaching, he teaches to a variety of groups, such as young boys in seventh grade to men in prisons. But no matter who he teaches he changes their lives and helps them become in tune with themselves and their writing. No matter what you're passionate about in life, Jensen's book helps you move forward with your dreams and not make you feel like you're alone about hating school. Not everyone likes to be in school everyday a week for six hours. Everyone is not the same and can not learn the same but Jensen is one person who helps you deal with that. He explains that it's not something wrong with us but with the schooling system. This is a great book everyone should read!

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