Lometa introduced me to the Walking Man project recently and I'm still sorting out my impressions of it.  Collaborative writing efforts have always fascinated me, probably a holdover from my hippie commune days, and stumbling onto one at E2 was a pleasant surprise.  

The Walking Man Project is a series of interwoven stories chronicling the peripatetic travels of the mysterious walking man.  The project was begun in 1994 by  Jack Graham, an author who has since vanished without a trace.  The original Walking Man series is rumored to have contained 14 episodes, however all but the first have been lost.  The series was revived at E2 through the efforts of The Custodian and alex in January of 2001 and has since attracted a variety of contributions from E2 writers.

I read the stories straight through recently and was delighted by some and disappointed by others.  The quality of the writing and the author's approach to the format and structure varies widely and perhaps that's both the greatest strength and inherent weakness of the project.

I read the series through again, from start to end, focusing on what might be learned from it as a pedagogical tool and found that approach to be quite rewarding.  Comparing and contrasting what works and what doesn't yields some interesting lessons for the aspiring author.  This isn't the place for a discussion of those insights, but the exercise convinced me that the Walking Man Project  is a valuable piece of work, and motivated me to make a contribution to help maintain it at E2.  

Towards that end, I'd like to offer the following Annotated Index of the Walking Man Project in the hopes: 

  • That those who haven't yet read Walking Man, will be inspired to do so,

  • That it will allow those who want to contribute to it to better discern its essence, 

  • That those readers who have enjoyed it already will be able to more easily revisit and enjoy their favorite chapters,  

  • That more of E2's aspiring fiction writers will contribute their unique style and flavor to the series. 


The index below provides easy access to the entire Walking Man series at E2.  The Walking Man series has evolved continuously since 1994 through the contribution of dozens of authors from all around the world.   

The Index is arranged by date and comprises 30 chapters as of September 2003.  I'll periodically update the Index as additional chapters are added to the series.  

I owe a special thanks to Those Bones for an early and unqualified vote of confidence in this project.

Node Title: Walking Man

Node Date Tue Jan 16 2001 at 7:15:10
Author(s) The Custodian, alex, Jack Graham
Stats: 31 ¶, 101 s, 2335 w, 13427 c 
Plot Synopses
Chapter Notes: Courtesy of The Custodian
I'll be honest; I introduced TWM to E2 mostly because I had this story I'd written about him for the original, I'd tweaked it a few times, I really liked it, and it wanted somewhere to live. I was also, of course, curious to see what the varied and sundry excellent writers of this here place could do with him if they put their minds and pens to it.

The first installment is somewhat sci-fi deliberately; it is also deliberately vague. It is intended to offer a picture of the kinds of stretch that the Walking Man can absorb. It also emphasizes TWM as an observer, a point of view rather than a character (much less protagonist). I find, looking over some of the notes, that this rubs some others the wrong way, and that they have embarked on a bit of a drive to refocus the tales on him.

That's fine; he has already served his purpose as a device to encourage submission. TWM is, in my mind, a hollow or mirror; he's a phantom audience to whom a writer can show a tale and offer us their own preferred reaction in case we care. He's also, of course, available to morph into a character, main or otherwise; and watching what's happening to him is as entertaining.


Node Title: Walking Man 2

Node Date Sat Feb 10 2001 at 6:18:36
Author(s) deep thought
Stats: 5 ¶, 27 s, 522 w, 2622 c
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man in the midwest through the eyes of a local ranch hand.  The walking man is living in a cheap hotel and waiting, for something.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy deep thought

I had not written on e2 very long when this project arrived. When I thought of the title two things entered my mind-- the song-Walking man, by James Taylor and the evil, satanic character from Stephen King's The Stand. My short piece is based in and around that idea- an ambiguous stranger with a sense of menace. As I read the various chapters that followed I am impressed with both the skill of the writers and the wonderful variety of the mosaic.  Not unlike e2 itself. I am pleased to be associated with this project.


Node Title: Walking Man 3

Node Date Wed Apr 04 2001 at 3:21:21
Author(s) dannye
Stats: 15 ¶, 36 s, 510 w, 2786 c
Plot Synopsis: 

The walking man meets the last pioneer in the middle of nowhere.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of dannye

I've enjoyed doing some collaborative writing projects here on E2. It's been some of the best fun I've had with users like Ideath (my virgin experience at it all), ToasterLeavings, Lord Brawl, MoJoe, and others. But I always tried to pick my partners, like you are able to do at a dance which isn't even scheduled until you make that first effort to put some words on a page. The thought of doing a collaborative writing project with a whole bunch of folks seemed absurd to me. It's anarchy, baby. And you probably know how I feel about all that. So why would I let myself get dragged into a red-diaper doper-baby MayDay Communistic roundup like this Walking Man deal? It's simple, really.

When I first saw it, it was up to Number 7 or 8. I can't remember exactly, but I do remember that Number 3 sucked a camel's booty-hole. It was some of the worst crap I'd ever seen written here. I won't say who wrote it, mostly because I can't remember. But, take my word for it, it was awful. Awful. So I killed it. I was a young admin. here at the time and it came easily to me to hit that "delete" button. It just sorta slid out of my right pinky and "Kablooey," Walking Man Number 3 was as dead as the rug on Ted Koppel's head.

Immediately after Number 3 hit the recycle bin, a startling revelation smacked me upside the back of my own hairless head. "Jesus, dannye, you just broke the fucking chain!" Now, I was either going to have to recruit someone to replace Number 3 (real quick, before anyone noticed what I'd done) or write it myself. I remember trying to turn panic into creative energy, and that is how Walking Man Number 3 came about. My aunt was bedridden with Alzheimer's Disease and my mom was her sole caretaker at the time, and that was the spark that set the story off. Other than that spark, it's all fiction and it's not very good fiction, but I do like the image of the inverted clouds and it does beat the shit out of what was there before. You'll have to take my word for that last one.


Node Title: Walking Man 4

Node Date Sat Feb 24 2001 at 7:19:15
Author(s) Demeter
Stats:  13 ¶, 16 s, 305 w, 1788 c
Plot Synopsis: 

 The walking man is a messenger who shows us that there's a reason to keep going. 

Chapter Notes Courtesy of Demeter

Walking Man 4 followed on from the original 3, but fits as smoothly after dannye’s version - more so, in fact as dannye gives the protagnist something of the mythic quality I wanted to look at.

The idea was to explore, to a small extent, anyway, how myths are made.

Here's the Walking Man; he's travelled a long way by now, and people are going to start talking. This guy ­ he’s different. He's not doing what everyone else is -- what does it mean? What is he, hero-messiah, destruction-demon, or just a lunatic?

So, they talk, question, draw conclusions - but always their own.

They choose, on the whole, to make him a hero. Nobody asks our man any more than anyone asked Christ if he was the son of God, until Pilate: ­ because they are more comfortable with their own fictitious answers than they might be with an unpalatable truth.


Node Title Walking Man 5

Node Date Wed Mar 14 2001 at 6:06:48
Author(s) uncleozzy
Stats:  8 ¶, 17 s, 283 w, 1796 c
Plot Synopsis: 

 No one understands the joy of a giggling child, except the walking man.

Chapter Notes:

Node Title Walking Man 6

Node Date  Wed Mar 14 2001
Author(s) baffo
Stats:  3 ¶, 26 s, 326 w, 1835 c
Plot Synopsis courtesy of Lometa

The Walking Man passes through a bleak and desolate African village populated with poor people. While he is there he is approached by a meager boy and decides to give him something strange in return for food.

Chapter Notes: 


Node Title Walking Man 7

Node Date Mon Apr 02 2001 at 18:00:04
Author(s) baffo
Stats:  16 ¶, 95 s, 1521 w, 8365 c
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man is surprised at finding a lake in his path and a mild mannered man is compelled to tell us a fish story.

Chapter Notes: 


Node Title Walking Man 8

Node Date Wed Apr 04 2001 at 4:23:58 
Author(s) Aphrodite
Stats: 8 ¶, 19 s, 278 w, 1590 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man encounters a voluptuous young gawdette with a ponytail, cornflower blue eyes, and a sweet voice. She offers him companionship and a wave of visceral arousal threatens his mission, but the Walking Man keeps walking.  

Chapter Notes Courtesy of Aphrodite 

This vignette was written primarily to introduce a random character into TWM. I hoped to provide a pivotal element for a later story that I was too lazy to write, an aim in which I failed miserably; I confess, that disappointed me. As it stands I think (hope) it works on a metaphorical level, even so, giving form to some dreams and dreads for TWM.


Node Title Walking Man 9

Node Date Wed Apr 04 2001 at 4:36:39 
Author(s) narzos
Stats:  11 ¶, 33 s, 603 w, 2929 c
Plot Synopsis: 

We seen the walking man an we ast him a question an he give us an answer.  It were a good call, and dat's dat.

Chapter Notes: 


Node Title Walking Man 10

Node Date Fri Apr 06 2001 at 70345
Author(s) Lord Brawl
Stats 8 ¶, 26 s, 339 w, 2003 c
Plot Synopsis Courtesy of momomom

The Walking Man slows to a stroll. He stops to smell the flowers with a local mutt then picks up his stride and moves on.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of Lord Brawl

In WM10 I returned to an old idea - familiarity with everyday things. Small things that you'd see on a neighbourhood walk: cracks on the sidewalk, trees, and cats. I wanted to eschew plot in favour of a hopefully vivid scene with sights, sounds, and smells. I wanted to use the Walking Man as observer, neither acting nor acted upon. I needed a "local guide" for him, and the then-de rigeur thumping that opened each scene suggested the wagging tail of a small dog. In retrospect, it may be a bit too short, but it captures the mood.

I like the idea of the Walking Man as a guide. He may be a catalyst or an observer, and he may change over time, but his role is to let us walk to new places with him.


Node Title Walking Man 11

Node Date Fri Apr 06 2001
Author(s) Demeter
Stats: 9 , 19 s, 259 w, 1551 c
Plot Synopsis Courtesy of Lometa 

The readers learn a little more about the Walking Man's past. His wife has left and his daughter has become estranged. He reflects on one more blow, the loss of a job after many years of loyalty. 

Chapter Notes Courtesy of Demeter

I wrote this episode purely and simply because I was confused. The project didn’t seem to be heading anywhere in particular and, more importantly, there was a lack of cohesion to the whole that made me feel uncomfortable. Individual episodes were very well written, but they all described unconnected events ­ the Walking Man had even switched continents for a while, characters had disappeared without explanation ­ and we knew absolutely NOTHING about our man. I liked the idea of the project but was quickly ceasing to care about the actuality, especially the character himself ­ I was finding him null, he’d started to become nothing but myth. I’d read The Custodian’s introduction, and understood it to an extent, but I felt without some kind of personality to our protagonist the connecting thread just didn’t connect. So I wrote him an ordinary little backstory, just to give him somewhere to come from, and some kind of reason to be walking. 


Node Title Walking Man 12

Node Date Sat Apr 07 2001 at 7:35:11
Author(s) Rancid_Pickle
Stats: 23 ¶, 75 s, 1045 w, 5929 c
Plot Synopsis:

The thunderheads chuckle to each other as the Walking Man slogs through the mud against a raging wind.  Not surprisingly, his feet hurt.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of Rancid_Pickle

I read Walking Man 11 just after Demeter hit the sumbit button. I thought it was an interesting concept, and spent some time reading the previous entries. I could see that Demeter wanted to refocus on the Walking Man, so I came up with a story that made him more human and less of a mythical entity. It is difficult for many folks to associate themselves and empathize with a character if they don't find some common thread that connects them.

I was unsure if the Walking Man could actually stop and sit down somewhere, so I made it happen in a little diner surrounded by nothingness. Since he was a drifter, I was sure that the soured milk of human kindness had scalded him on many an occasion, and I wanted to give him a reminder that not all is dark in the midst of a storm.


Node Title Walking Man 13

Node Date Sun Apr 08 2001 at 22:35:54 
Author(s) The_Custodian
Stats: 20 ¶, 38 s, 493 w, 2981 c 
Plot Synopsis:

Sky and sand and aching feet, the Walking Man is lost. His resolve momentarily wavers, but then is strengthened by the flight of a silver arrowhead.

Chapter Notes: 


Node Title Walking Man 14

Node Date Tue Apr 17 2001 at 2:07:47 
Author(s) Roninspoon
Stats: 9 ¶, 61 s, 769 w, 4350 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man is severely chastised by a child for the cowardice of his constant stride.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of Roninspoon 

It was my intent to provide, not only some character development by implying some history, but also to provide us with a view through the Walking Man's eye's. It's evident that version of reality is warped, severely, from the norm. He feels responsible for some action that he has taken in the past, and it is this that drives him. It's really a very similar theme to what I tried to explore in The responsibility of fate, the idea that a tortured mind can imprison a mind in hallucination for what he thinks he may have done. God only knows what this says about my own fragile psychology. Additionally, I was influenced by a film I saw as a child, of a preacher, so tortured by his own perceived guilt and sin that he placed pebbles in his shoes, wrapped his midsection tightly with barbed wire and eventually blinded himself, all as penance for sins that may or may not have really happened.


Node Title Walking Man 15

Node Date Fri May 18 2001 at 4:17:46 
Author(s) Demeter
Stats: 8 ¶, 16 s, 213 w, 1245 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man yearns to stop.  He longs for normalcy, roots, and perhaps even love. 

Chapter Notes Courtesy of Demeter 

At the end of episode 14, Roninspoon left our protagonist examining his memories so here I thought I’d pause again to see where that might take him, what it might reveal about who he was (Sorry Custy, I’m just a sucker for character building). I couldn’t believe in a person without some doubts, so I gave him some, along with some dreams ­ and I took the opportunity to dispose of our disappearing character ­ though somewhat unsatisfactorily. However, he needed to keep going and didn’t want to define a quest for others, so decided that doubts might equally drive him on as stop him.


Node Title Walking Man 16

Node Date Fri May 18 2001 at 5:00:16 
Author(s) Aphrodite
Stats: 9 ¶, 22 s, 323 w, 1917 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man on the streets of a dirty and decadent city.  He doesn't like it and it doesn't like him. 

Chapter Notes Courtesy of Aphrodite

Up until here TWM had been passing through rural or suburban landscapes, observing relatively friendly or non-threatening scenes. Here I wanted to give him dirt, stink and danger to deal with and to make him observed as well as observing. He doesn't like it much - but who would?


Node Title Walking Man 17

Node Date Sat Jun 09 2001 at 0:15:15
Author(s) Dannye
Stats:  15 ¶, 55 s, 710 w, 3709 c
Plot Synopsis: 

After crossing a metaphysical bridge in the badlands, the Walking Man encounters a large woman trapped in the eye of the needle.  After lending assistance and some helpful advice, he proceeds on his way.

Chapter Notes: 


Node Title Walking Man 18

Node Date Sat Jul 10 2004 at 4:10:06 
Author(s) allseeingeye
Stats: 1 ¶, 33 s, 276 w, 1622 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

In between places, the Walking Man ponders the many promises that have faded like sunsets beneath his heels.

Chapter Notes: 


Node Title Walking Man 19

Node Date Sat Jul 21 2001 at 8:53:21
Author(s) Demeter
Stats:  62 ¶, 131 s, 1664 w, 9354 c
Plot Synopsis: 

Leaves are falling and an Autumnal chill cuts the air as the walking man passes through Hicksville.  He is blessed with the unexpected kindness of a lonely and heroic stranger.

Chapter Notes Courtesy of Demeter 

This is well my favourite of the episodes I’ve written for the project. The character portrait I wanted to build here was the woman, and I’m pleased with how she turned out - she’s strong, brave, determined, caring and kind -- and complex. She’s kind of a symbol for everything the Walking Man doesn’t have in his life, and perhaps longs for, although this episode really isn’t about him at all.

Being pompous, I suppose I wanted to look at the transitory nature of joy in the lives of desperate people. The woman could only reach for the Walking Man because she knew the extent of the interaction, so she could grab at a temporary escape to help her bear the dismal struggle without setting up a potential disappointment that might be her final straw, and he could respond for the same reasons. But I wanted something hopeful too ­ a reinforcement of human kindness, even in the face of misery.


Node Title Walking Man 20

Node Date Sat Jul 21 2001 at 10:31:41 
Author(s) Rancid_Pickle
Stats:  39 ¶, 109 s, 1489 w, 8262 c
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man defends himself from a murderous attack and is rewarded with an apology, apple pie and an invitation from the sheriff: "Leave when you are able and don't come back."

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of Rancid_Pickle

Seems I'm always following after Demeter, perhaps she's my Walking Man Muse.

For this story, I wanted to incorporate some action and danger. The two yokels who assault the Walking Man are based on two kids I knew decades ago. The bully in particular had absolutely no regard for others. He was known to randomly punch people, both male and female, right in the face when they weren't looking. Not many people mourned at his passing after he was killed in a drug deal gone bad.

I wanted the Walking Man to be put into a situation where it came down to survival, and how he dealt with the aftermath. I really struggled with the timid companion of the bully, in the original version of the story the Walking Man killed both of the attackers. In the end I wanted to show that he had mercy and reasoning skills in dire circumstances.


Node Title Walking Man 21

Node Date Mon Aug 06 2001 at 21:57:15
Author(s) TheDeadGuy
Stats:  24 ¶, 54 s, 826 w, 5330 c
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man is in the hood, hangin' with his homey Rat Davis, and witnessing some seriously heinous shit.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of TheDeadGuy

I had been exposed to everything2 for less than three months when I stumbled upon the Walking Man series. For some reason it reminded me of an overhyped television "drama" series from the 1960's and 1970's. There was the element of the man wandering from place to place, sort of like The Fugitive or The Incredible Hulk or one of what seemed like dozens of television shows that used a similar theme.

For whatever reason, whether it was that some parts of the series seemed to take themselves too seriously, or something else, I felt a twinge. This didn't have to always delve into the deeper meaning of the Walking Man. They didn't all have to be "very special episodes" of Walking Man. Sometimes, maybe, he would encounter shallow and selfish people who were on the edge of sanity. He would encounter someone who was just plain mean, and for a while, he wouldn't have to walk. He would ride and the ride would take him nowhere. The ride takes him nowhere, convincing him he has to walk again.

And so there was the idea of special guest star Mickey Rourke as "Rat Davis" because these kind of shows always need special guest stars to pump up their ratings, and they usually choose big name stars whose careers are on the wane. Needing someone who fit this description, who could be mean, selfish and cruel, I naturally thought of Mickey Rourke.

And, of course, the real star of the episode is the sixty foot whip antenna. Walking Man 21 is a parody of the rest of the series. I think. Is it? Sure.


Node Title Walking Man 22

Node Date Fri Nov 30 2001 at 6:43:49
Author(s) alex
Stats:  16 ¶, 51 s, 942 w, 5353 c
Plot Synopsis: 

A sunny day, the glory of nature, a spartan lunch in a lonely clearing.  The Walking Man visits Beatrice and leaves a red poppy behind. 

Chapter Notes: 

This was a more or less spontaneous, experimental piece written at a time during which I was exploring different styles of noding and writing, as later documented in my April 2003 editor log. I hadn't paid much attention to the works of collaborative fiction on E2, nor did I have any strong appreciation of Walking Man or the other projects. I have also never analysed my own writing.

It seems to be the rule that there is little continuity among the different chapters of Walking Man. Mine is no different in that aspect, except I intentionally wrote it to contrast with the preceding chapter (I still don't like it, Keith, you literary saboteur). Seeing the "serious" story-telling being jarred by a spoofish insert I thought that it pretty much had to be given a push in the right direction.

This is how it came to be something completely different from WM21. I changed everything--the characters, the setting, the time and pace. From the urban to the pastoral, from the modern to the timeless, even from cynicism to whimsical romance, which is unusual since I'm much more adept at the former. I added life--many different kinds of life, death, and magic. Beginnings and ends. Maybe it's all--every Walking Man episode--a bit like a musical piece, the Walking Man being the motif with which each movement opens and closes, and a number of different presences-instruments interact with it before he carries on alone. I think that is what Walking Man is about... the solitude inherent in the beginnings and endings of chapters of life and the random encounters in between.


Node Title Walking Man 23

Node Date Tue Dec 04 2001 at 4:37:03
Author(s) narzos
Stats:  10 ¶, 41 s, 646 w, 3276 c
Plot Synopsis: 

A hobo in the suburbs, the Walking Man turns down the offer of a ride. 

Chapter Notes:

Node Title Walking Man 24

Node Date Mon Oct 21 2002 at 0:43:51 
Author(s) Rancid_Pickle
Note: The original Walking Man 24 writeup by Rancid_Pickle was removed in April 2008 by the author. Replacement writeups are welcomed!
Stats:  10 ¶, 38 s, 570 w, 3233 c
Plot Synopsis: 

The walking man weathers a violent storm in a cornfield, befriends an injured cat and uncovers a bloody and ironic chain of events.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of Rancid_Pickle

I'm starting to see a trend here - my entries involve violence, blood and misery in one form or another.

This chapter was a quick story to introduce the readers to the tender side of the Walking Man. Through the cat, I wanted to show he had empathy for others and, in a round-about way, to show that he would make a great Dad, one who would shelter his kids from the storm and bear the brunt of the violence in the world. When the bird is discovered, the Walking Man shows forgiveness and sympathy, just as he would if his own children ran back to him after doing something stupid. The act of burying them together was to show we should all get along despite our differences, because in the end we're all together in our final resting place. The flattened beer can was just a flattened beer can.


Node Title Walking Man 25

Node Date Thu May 15 2003 at 18:44:16
Author(s) Lometa
Stats:  37 ¶, 167 s, 2860 w, 16289 c
Plot Synopsis: 

A cold February sends the walking man south to warmer climes.  In the southwest, he encounters a passionate amiga, and an old friend.  An accident is narrowly averted, and an incongruous seabird casts a long and portentous shadow.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of Lometa

Encouraged by Rancid_Pickle to do a chapter, I was glad to try because fiction writing is something I have wanted to work on to improve my skills. Since I wanted this writing exercise to have some continuity and continue, I read through what the others had done before. A few had already suggested that he had a troubled past so I sketched that in a little more. To explain his presence in Africa, the metaphysical tour de force and allow for other mythologies it could be that he disappeared for periods of time. I also decided to pick up on Demeter's introduction of the idea that the Walking Man spent two weeks in one place while he considered the pros and cons of settling down.

Art has a need of back middle and foreground. The time has arrived for the story to step forward against the background of his past, to confront some ghosts and create a contrasting spark in the present. There is so much middle ground in the form of the here and now, so to add balance within the Walking Man 25 narrative I put a little color of what went on before and a tint of foreshadows. There are three themes guilt, destiny and evolution.

As a tip of the hat to previous writers there are pipe links to write ups to each one of the authors.

Symbolism is used on several levels.

  • Birds are omens as past becomes prologue.
  • Paper birds experience a medley of changes through natural selection. They are flimsy, bendable, decorated so that they blend into the background. Some are discovered while others are overlooked. Their creators toss dice in an attempt to get chance to determine their fates. Instead some become lost in a fantasy then confused with reality where they are wadded up and thrown away. A metaphor as to what is happening.
  • The pelican that has been blown off course signifies these random encounters and the baffling convergence of the all of the characters. Pelicans are strong and swift in flight. When they hunt fish in the ocean they barely skim the surface dip their beak into the sea snatching prey from a hum drum life and so on. In this manner he binds all of these people together.
  • Every time the Walking Man lights a cigarette regrets begin to smolder, yet fate steps to snuff them out.
  • The matchbook is a tip-off to some connection between Beth and Sedona. For those who may have missed it Beth was the missionary that taught Sedona English in Ecuador. The match that Sedona hands to the Walking Man is what could-be. It’s impossible to light.

    Characters All have some sort of potential in the Walking Man’s life. He can either spend some time with them or move on. The choice is his.

  • Not only is Carol Beth’s adversary, she is also there to test the Walking Man’s limitations Their relationship casts a slur upon his reputation. An allusion to a repetition in his future marriage talked about in Walking Man 11
  • Beth is an unrequited love; she has reached a conclusion that they will never speak the same language. Even if there is only one reader who wanted Beth in that car, well then as a novice author I’ve accomplished my goal.
  • Karen is intentionally left as an outline for the next writer to fill in if they would care to. Or the Walking Man could simply give a friendly “I’m all right” wave to everyone and be on his way to his next encounter.
  • Yago, is well Yago. Scratch the surface and you’ll find the Don Quixote in disguise that dominates the popular imagination. Yago not only embodies, but reflects the truth.
  • Marita is a McGuffin, a shadowy champion for her people.
  • Madison is a possible second chance.
  • Destiny deals a third queen from her hand. The heady Sedona is foreign yet familiar. The quick friendship echoes his history with Beth. A scrim of hope forms in the Walking Man. Fate suddenly puts her back in the middle of the deck. Destiny reshuffles the cards lays three more on the table and passes the deck on to the next writer.

The story is pure invention based on a random collection of elements from personal experiences to knit what's in front of the reader into the rough cloth of fiction Before writing this story, I had just returned from a recent weekend retreat with a very good friend. Along the lines of the six degrees of separation theory, I used parts of that trip as a premise for the setting to get the characters together in one location. The practice of explicating so much poetry here at E2 accounts for most of the devices that were chosen to construct the story around. Keeping it condensed was difficult.

The story easily fell into place. Working out the details is where the real effort came in. I wanted to know if the characters were believable, did the story hang together. Where do I need to connect the dots? I asked others for some help in getting the characters fleshed out. I wanted to know if the story would fit within the conventions of the exercise. For example, GrouchyOldMan to helped me to see some of the female characters from a man’s point of view. He pointed out areas where characters needed motivations for their actions. I learned a lot.

Overall it is hard work yet very satisfying to create characters with meaning then to find ways of having them interact with the Walking Man. I think it's important to acknowledge that the series has come this far and it speaks to the high caliber of writers that are participating. The hope is that the Walking Man will continue on his trek.


Node Title Walking Man 26

Node Date Mon Jun 02 2003 at 23:29:21
Author(s) GrouchyOldMan
Stats: 36 ¶, 124 s, 1811 w, 11340 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man enjoys the comforts and company of an evening with friends and reveals that he's not that much different from the rest of us.  

Chapter Notes: 

Chapter 26 was an induced birth, dragged kicking and screaming from the creative womb of this humble pen.  When Lometa first showed me Walking Man 25 I thought it was just a story with an odd title rather than the most recent chapter in a historic event.  It wasn't until I began playing with the soft links that the whole Walking Man project emerged for me and, like so much of E2, it was like falling down the rabbit hole.  

I became intrigued with the concept and wanted to help it along somehow.  As a first step in the process I felt I needed to understand and learn from the existing Walking Man chapters so I started the Annotated Index to help me in that effort.  As the index evolved and I received the gracious assistance of many other Walking Man authors, I came to understand the elements I wanted to include in my own contribution.

Walking Man 26 begins a few moments after the near fatal accident of the previous chapter. The characters and previous history are intact as near as possible and we make the transition in the form of a Drabble, a work of fiction in exactly 100 words.  With the scene set, the Walking Man is suddenly deconstructed into a very real person, with sore feet, a three day beard and a longing for a soft bed.

His mission, or at least part of it, is revealed. He's a writer, and far from being disconnected from the world, he uses technology to stay in touch with a community much like ours. He's us and we're him.  In some senses he's very real, but from another perspective, he is just words on a screen.

This paradox is thrown into sharp relief at the end of Walking Man 26, as Beth, a very real woman from his past, leads him from the room.  


Node Title Walking Man 27

Node Date Tue Jun 03 2003 at 4:07:22
Author(s) DejaMorgana
Stats: 17 , 48 s, 1082 w, 6157 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

 A forest god watches as the man walks, and a noisy city rises relentlessly from the fertile ground.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of DejaMorgana

Ah, Chapter Notes - I'm terrible at talking about my work, but here goes: The first thing that came to me for my WM story was the pitter-patter. I had just discovered Walking Man, and while thinking about him walking through the woods, I became annoyed with the "thump thump thump" that opened and closed every one of the first chapters. I recognized that it was part of the original formula for the Walking Man concept, and felt that if I just ignored it I might as well never have entered the series. But it pissed me off. It was monotonous, and it sounded like the segue into the X-Files theme at the beginning and end of every episode. So I started thinking about ways to fuck with that sound. And the first decent thing I could come up with was doing the thump thump thump as heard by beings that live on different time scales from ours, watching the Man flitter back and forth like a moth. The geomancy came later. That's about all I can say, hardly any of this was planned. This is probably the most spontaneous fiction piece I've written in the last year or so - which seems to me a demonstration of how good the WM concept actually is.


Node Title Walking Man 28

Node Date Wed Jun 04 2003 at 3:25:15
Author(s) drownzsurf
Stats: 8 , 24 s, 313 w, 2049 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man emerges once again into the clear warm sunshine.  His head is filled with the metaphors of music and poetry as he approaches the next fork in the road.

Chapter Notes: Courtesy of drownzsurf

The forest setting seemed spooky and sentient, so I put the Walking Man back out in the light. And since he'd seen fields and cities and old and new acquaintances, some living and some dead, I thought the internal landscape might be a nice change. Everything is relative when it comes to our 'comfort zone.' When we are alone with our thoughts, music sometimes becomes the soundtrack of our lives. Certainly the blues and songs of the road would come flashing back for a bittersweet mix of comfort and longing.


Node Title Walking Man 29

Node Date Fri Jun 06 2003 at 4:09:41
Author(s) Rancid_Pickle
Note: The original Walking Man 29 writeup by Rancid_Pickle was removed in April 2008 by the author. Replacement writeups are welcomed!
Stats: 23 , 80 s, 1008 w, 5726 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man rests alongside a peaceful river and meets a kindred spirit in a tweed jacket. He gains some serviceable boots, a salmon dinner and the beginnings of a new understanding as he turns his back on solitude to follow the road more traveled.

Chapter Notes: 


Node Title Walking Man 30

Node Date Sun Jun 29 2003 at 2:34:52
Author(s) Lord Brawl
Stats:  15 , 93 s, 1276 w, 7477 c
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man encounters a sporting crowd as he strolls through the city.  The home team prevails and he watches as enthusiasm gives way to euphoria then swells into frenzy and chaos.  Rubber bullets fly, acrid smoke rises in the streets and the Walking Man longs for the solace of the countryside. 

Chapter Notes: 


Node Title Walking Man 31

Node Date Tue Jan 27 2004 at 0:47:27
Stats:  57 ¶, 161 s, 1424 w, 8259 c
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man meets a friend and contemporary on the Appalachian trail. They contemplate the many miles behind them and then he asks a question to which there is no answer.

Chapter Notes: 
The Appalachian Trail is a strange thing. On the one hand, the people who complete through-hikes are dreamers, communing with nature, giving themselves trail names and whatnot, dropping out of normal life for a period of six or seven months so they can live in a smelly sleeping bag. On the other hand, these people are totally serious. The Trail is 2000 miles of rough terrain. You can’t finish it without being utterly dedicated to your dream. You get sick, you get lonely, you’re carrying all your food, your feet hurt, you spend a lot of time wet. It’s not easy. So it seems to me that most AT through-hikers are pretty interesting people, and I figured if the Walking Man was ever going to meet someone who might understand him, the Trail was the place for it to happen.

The old lady just popped out of nowhere. I had started out with a completely different idea, different characters and everything. There were all these other Walking People, it was like Highlander meets the royal family of Amber. I didn’t care about a single one of them, and the story was crap. Then she stuck her head in my door and changed it all around. I thought she was going to be some kind of love interest for WM, but I’m rather glad that didn’t happen. It would probably hurt George’s feelings.



Node Title Walking Man 32

Node Date Thu Nov 25 2004 at 5:30:55
Stats:  32 ¶, 96 s, 920 w, 5448 c
Plot Synopsis: 

"He was a wanderer. He was a dreamer. Listless, in some sense frail of soul and uncertain of spirit, a poet cast away on the seas."

The Walking Man takes a breather on a mellow evening and has a friendly chat with The City Man. A lyrical meeting of the minds but perhaps not the hearts. 

Chapter Notes: 
I'd thought about it for a long time. The phrase "listening to the sunset" was actually the seed for it, I wanted him to try to share that feeling with someone, and have him lift someone else's perceptions over the horizon.



Node Title Walking Man 33

Node Date Sat May 14 2005 at 0:21:33
Author(s) Rancid_Pickle 
Stats:  29 ¶, 63 s, 911 w, 5222 c
Plot Synopsis: 

The Walking Man doesn't like the darkness and he doesn't like the city. His encounter with Goth Girl and her friends brings back memories he'd prefer to leave forgotten.

Chapter Notes: 



Node Title Walking Man 34

Node Date Mon Jun 19 2006 at 21:22:55
Author(s) dannye
Stats: 44 ¶, 122 s, 1984 w, 10735 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

The old fella meets a child with a child within and administers some grace and wisdom.  

Chapter Notes: 

My old friend The Custodian told me that he never imagined the walking man aging. I replied that I always imagined him as one who ages but cannot die.

If you're ever in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, and find yourself in the True Value Hardware store on Cherokee Ave., say "hi" to Carl for me.



Node Title Walking Man 35

Node Date Fri Aug 17 2007 at 22:53:44
Author(s) Lord Brawl
Stats: 29 ¶, 146 s, 1632 w, 9415 c 
Plot Synopsis: 

Lured by angelic blond syrens, our peripatetic hero browses the detritus of a Red State yardsale. Among the many surprises that await him are a poetry lover and a sartorial upgrade.  

Chapter Notes: 

For Lost Gems of Yesteryear I wanted a story that worked in the names of the three writeups I'm promoting. I first imagined an episodic take where the as-yet-unknown protagonist would encounter each in turn (passed by the fire engine of The Great Figure, etc.). But that felt forced, and I thought "Where can he encounter this jumble of items in one place?" At a 'jumble sale', of course. From there the story started to take shape.

Two 'test readers' read the initial lead phrase, " Silver needles bobbed within the deep pool of shade...." and got two different images (pine needles in a pool of water, syringes), neither of them what I wanted. I added extra description to fix that without placing undue focus on something incidental to the story. The framing device of the lemonade stand is based on the sharp-minded daughters of a friend of mine. If they ever read it, I expect to be hit up for an appearance fee.

I've wanted to restart Walking Man for a while. Some 'WM in the city' ideas never gelled, so when this idea formed I made it a Walking Man story. I like to write vignettes of his journey, using him as an observer. Other authors make him a primary actor, which is fine too. But for me, he's an instrument. He opens a window, looks in briefly, and walks on.




Work in Progress...

  • If you are already a TWM author and you'd like to contribute TWM Chapter Notes to the Index,  email the plain text of your notes to 

  • If you are a new TWM author, /msg GrouchyOldMan with your Walking Man chapter title and I'll add it to the index.


Index Entry Template


Node Title Walking Man

Node Date 
Plot Synopsis: 


Chapter Notes: 


Sincere thanks to: Lady Lo, Mr. D, Dem Bones, The Custodian, TheDeadGuy, momomom, Demeter and the rest of the Walking Man authors: past, present and future.

I'm tired now, you all take it from here...

-El Hombre Caminando 

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