“Color Walking”: Reading Summary

“Color Walking” by Phia Bennin and Brendan McMullan is an article about a unique style of physical and mental exercise the two authors have found to be quite satisfying.  They got the idea from William Burroughs, who used it mainly to inspire his students.  He called the activity “color walks.”  A color walk is when you walk outside and select a color that catches your eye and you follow that color wherever you see it as you walk.

As the authors attempted a color walk, they decided to be more flexible and switch between different colors as they are exposed to different objects along the walk.  They began their walk in Manhattan and with their eyes set on the color blue.  Their quest to find blue would then shift to pink, and then violet.  Along with the description of their day entailed in their article is a timeline included.  The authors snapped photos of the objects that caught their attention throughout the walk such as a scarf, and a set of basketball courts in the city.

Finally, the authors added some advice for any readers who would like to try a color walk themselves and reflect on their own activities.  They warn that after a color walk colors will ring bright and vivid in one’s eyes and in mind as did theirs.  According to them, the best way to color walk is to allot at least an hour of time to it, select an attention-grabbing color to follow, and do not stress if you find yourself to be lost; because that is the whole point of the walk.

Color walking is a seemingly fun activity, driven solely off of the spirit of being spontaneous.  To some people, such as the authors, it may become a time consuming hobby, while others who are less open-minded may find it to be boring.  In their article, they pretty much assume that every one lives near a place full of excitement such as New York.  For instance, some people may live on a farm where the amount of new faces and places you can discover are limited.  Of course these people could travel somewhere exciting to color walk but that would somewhat defeat the purpose of the activity.

Another potential issue the authors neglected was the reality that it is sometimes unsafe to essentially wander the streets of a major city, especially in the downtown area.  It is an innocent activity with good intentions but large amounts of people yearly are victims of crime in New York as a result of not walking with a purpose or being somewhere they are not supposed to be.  The authors insist not to worry about getting lost, however that is a very legitimate concern.  Although the point is to become enamored in the good vibes of the colors and your surroundings, it would be irresponsible to lose track of time and location.

In conclusion, “Color Walking” by Phia Bennin and Brendan McMullan, is a carefree and feel-good article that ignores danger and reality.  The actual act of color walking may be a very positive thing indeed, but the article the authors composed is misleading.