You did the pilgrimage in 2001, and published the book in 2006. Do you see it differently now?
I see it very differently now. My expectations were very very high. I felt that in six weeks you are taking a shortcut to illumination and at the very end you’ve got it! Of course it wasn’t like that. At the very end of the pilgrimage, I was very happy, very satisfied with what I did. But no miracles were happening, no instant miracles. The pilgrimage really started the day when I stopped the pilgrimage. And this is what I realize only now.
Do you think everyone should do something like this pilgrimage?
I wouldn’t encourage people to do it. I wrote about my personal experience. I do believe that it helped me to develop my own individuality. And I believe that individuality is a kind of sacred thing. I also believe that there are many other ways instead of doing the camino.
Well, walk across the U.S. But it doesn’t have to be necessarily have to be walking. Maybe gardening is a perfect way of getting closer to yourself.
Let’s talk about your fictional candidate for Chancellor, Horst Schlämmer. Who is he?
He is the deputy chief editor of the Grevenbroicher Tagblatt -- a very uninteresting local newspaper. He talks about everything that’s going on in this tiny little boring city in the Rhineland. He does interviews with politicians, mostly local politicians. After having done all these interviews he comes to the point where he says well, what they cannot do, I can do better, and decides to run for chancellorship.
That 18% of the people who voted for Horst in the polls, are they serious? Or are they in on the joke?
They’re showing their sense of humor. They’re saying “let’s shock the real serious parties, and let them rethink their programs, by saying okay they’re going to vote for this figure.”
-- BRUCE SHENITZ
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