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The F Stops Here

T. Michael Walker
T. Michael Walker teaches creative writing at Cabrillo College and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in both local and national magazines. He was a San Francisco police officer and wrote a book about it titled Voices from the Bottom of the World (1970, Grove Press). He has been a traveling minister with the Universal Life Church for the past 25 years.

T. Michael Walker

He may have been one of the few practicing Buddhists walking the beat as a San Francisco cop, a gig Mike Walker held before turning to teaching. Although this life's roles fade and interweave--teacher, author, policeman and traveling minister--the Eightfold Path has stayed Walker since he was 15. No surprise, then, that Walker sees himself just passing through, living one of many lives--or, perhaps, living just one level of a long, continuous life. "Death is the latent phase of life," Walker says. "When I wake up from death, I'll be in a new body to continue my journey to be fully enlightened." That journey would be a chance, Walker hopes, to continue developing his writing and his creative abilities and to find "a way to deeply benefit humanity."

Death holds no fear for Cabrillo's creative writing teacher--he says he's faced it many times walking the beat in San Francisco. "If it's good enough for trillions of humans that died before me, it's good enough for me," Walker figures. And he doesn't care how he goes, as long as it's not in a nursing home. If it gets to that, he wants someone to get Dr. Kevorkian on the line.

As he thinks about it, Walker admits that he's preparing for death right now. "I just turned in my letter of retirement to Cabrillo and expect to be reborn as a full-time writer in June of 1998."

Walker plans to be cremated but sees another way his remains could also deeply benefit humanity. "I hope my friends spread my ashes in an organic garden, preferably at the feet of big gorgeous pot plants." Those plants then could be used as medicine for the ill and dying.

He hopes friends and loved ones toss a big party and forgive him for his wrongs in this life. "I'll be back to fix it," Walker assures us.

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From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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