I have read many books about the Camino de Santiago and about pilgrimages in general, both before I headed off to do my own pilgrimage across Spain, and since, as I relive memories of those wonderful experiences as a pilgrim. My Book Corner book this month is a pilgrimage book that is extremely special to me. For reasons that will become obvious, I would describe it as the most special of pilgrimage books.
Neon Pilgrim is about one person’s pilgrimage along the Henro Michi, on the island of Shikoku, Japan, one of the few circular shaped pilgrimages in the world. To complete the Henro Michi the pilgrim must visit 88 temples, along with many other sacred sights, where in the 9th century, Buddhist priest Kobo Daishi, is believed to have spent time and trained. Many of the temples along the Henro Michi, often referrred to as Shikoku88, are in mountainous areas, and are very challenging to reach.
This book is extra special to me, and I ask that you please allow me a ‘proud Mum’ moment. The author of Neon Pilgrim is my daughter, Lisa. This book is her memoir of walking Japan’s Henro Michi in 2008. I remember when Lisa announced to me that she was going to do a pilgrimage in Japan. It would be a walk of 1200 kilometres, and she would walk every day for 55 days. I was shocked, as Lisa, at the time, wasn’t a big walker. This was one of the last things I would have expected her to do, but I have never doubted Lisa’s abilities, so saw no reason to do so this time. I was totally confident that Lisa would complete her pilgrimage, regardless of the difficulty.
Neon Pilgrim by Lisa Dempster
I share this book, not to brag about my daughter, (well….just a bit), but because most of my friends here, show an interest in my pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, whenever I post about it, and I really think they may be interested to know that my daughter did a much more challenging pilgrimage than mine, and wrote what I think is a great book, about it. Of course I think it’s a great book, and of course, I think it’s the best book that’s ever been written.
This edition, published by Ventura Press, in 2017, is the second edition of Neon Pilgrim. The first edition was published by an independent publisher, quite soon after Lisa returned from Japan.
I do find it difficult to write about this book, as thinking about it brings up many emotions for me from feeling extremely proud, to very profound sadness. So instead of me writing about it, here is the back cover blurb:
“During a culture-shocked exchange year in Japan, fifteen year old Lisa Dempster promises herself to one day walk the Henro Michi, an arduous 88 temple Buddhist pilrimage, through the mountains of Japan’s Shikoku Island. When thirteen years later, Lisa finds herself depressed, on the dole and living with her mum, she decides to go back to Japan immediately: to walk the Henro Michi and walk herself back to health. Brushing aside the barriers that other people might find daunting – the 12oo kilometres of mountainous terrain, the sweltering Japanese summer, the fact she has no money and has never done a multi day hike – let alone by herself – Lisa is determined to walk to pilgrimage, or die trying.
Told with refreshing warmth and humour, Neon Pilgrim is a deeply inspiring story, with fascinating insights into Japanese culture and the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage”. – blurb
A little about Lisa’s literary career from her publisher:
“Lisa Dempster has been Director and CEO of the Melbourne Writers Festival and the former Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, where she founded both the Digital Writers’ Conference and EWFdigital, an innovative online programming stream.
Lisa has pioneered online literary programming in Australia and in 2012 she curated Future Bookshop, a National Gallery of Victoria studio exhibition, which explored how Australians will be reading, writing and publishing in coming years. Lisa is a professional writer and editor with five book titles, including travel memoir Neon Pilgrim, and was formerly Publisher at indie outfit Vignette Press, where she created The Mook subcultural journal”.
This post is linked to Denyse’s Life This Week
©2021 copyright. All rights reserved nextphaseinfitness.com.au