Maps ultimately testify to our belief in the value of exploration, whether the compass is pointed inward or out.
Stephen S. Hall, “I, Mercator” in You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination (Katherine Harmon).
Map: Michael Druks, Druksland Physical and Social 15 January 1974, 11:30am, 1974 from a folio collection, Flexible Geography: My Private Atlas
Superhero maps? Yes, please! (More @The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company)
So if you’re wondering what this crazy, geography obsessed page is about, it’s about you. It’s about how individuals interact with the world—the space that you occupy…or perhaps…the space that occupies you? Of the many things we breathe in and consume into our bodies, who is to say that geography isn’t one?
I just hope to put forth sources for thinking about life, for thinking about your place here on Earth, to hopefully reach the understanding of what an awe-inspiring place and you that it is, and you are.
Yesterday, a wise professor said to us on the last day of class: “All you have in life are your words. And your feelings. Own them.” For me, I find that it’s where I am that can influence both. I think a lot about geography in the scope of the human life, so this is a means to organize those thoughts, reflect on them, write and share. One of the amazing things about this internet age is instant publication (yes, it has its many pitfalls too). All of a sudden, my thoughts and beliefs about humanist and personal geographies are out there…naked, vulnerable and probably underdeveloped. No matter what we think about, we have the ability—the privilege— to write about it—if but to just keep the voices in our heads quiet for a little while.
And that’s just what happened. One day, I thought enough about what I was studying to come to the conclusion that we’re all geographers. We all experience places that we know, we all create mental maps, we’re all architects of our own environments.
To revert back to a poem I linked to in my first post: “Forward ho! Forward ho! lovers of truth and good! Think on; write on…” I hope that you reading these words can self-meditate, appreciate, and share on this page from time to time what it is to be a geographer.
I apologize in advance for the ridiculous amount of quotes, articles, poems, links I’ll probably showcase. Thoughts and inspiration must come from somewhere! I’ll just try not too be too wordy about it, ey?
We cover the universe with the drawings we have lived.
thoughtcatalog is a neat site full of juicy, meaty stew to mull over in the mind, with tasty morsels of short, meaningful and lighthearted articles to enjoy.
A recent one titled “The Places You Don’t Walk Away From” talks about walking— a concept made famous by the great neck-bearded transcendentalist Thoreau. He asks a lot of important questions in it:
“What is it that makes it so hard sometimes to determine whether we will walk? I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously, yield to it, will direct us aright…There is a right way; but we are very liable from heedlessless and stupidity to take the wrong one. We would fain take that walk, never yet taken by us through this actual world, which is perfectly symbolical of the path which we love to travel in the interior and ideal world; and sometimes, no doubt, we find it difficult to choose our direction, because it does not yet exist distinctly in our idea.”
Indeed, Thoureau. Why is it so difficult to walk forth in our young lives? It’s all that damn uncertainty I say. It’s unnerving, yet liberating. It’s the cursed and blessed open road full of endless possibility (one of which includes total, utter failure or doomed unhappiness).
Yes, on this road there is much to be wary of. But to highlight “The Places You Don’t Walk Away From”, I think we youngins’ can move confidently forth in this world, with the sound understanding that there are places in our lives we don’t walk away from, places “unbeholden to geography”. These are places of home and friendship, trust and love. For a lot of us, these are places that we will retreat to for the holiday, and indeed, places to be wholeheartedly thankful for.
Today, offered is a quite farfetched connection between two works and a possibly even more so chancy conclusion.
Eudora Welty, in her amazing piece, “Place in Fiction” wrote:
“Surely place induces poetry, and when the poet is extremely attentive to what is there, a meaning may even attach to his poem out of the spot on earth where it is spoken, and the poem signify the more because it does spring so wholly out of its place…”
and Whitman declared in the preface to Leaves of Grass:
“Your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body…”
If places produce poetry, and the human individual contains the multitudes which writes itself as a great poem… then I propose that all we are, are maps of skin. We are read by our personal geographies, the places we have been, and the places that we absorb through the feelings bounded within them. Through ourselves, others can actualize the places we roam. We are maps to that which we know and to the wheres we have been!
Hey out there—A creative presentation on a theory of space!