Monday, June 23, 2014

Beyond the edge of the map

I'm not good at maps. They're tricky for me to read - I can't quite figure out how to orient myself and my directions at once. I am never the person you want to let navigate. I have a particular talent for getting lost, and I'm pretty sure that the nice lady in my GPS has given up on me as hopeless.

So perhaps it may seem strange for me to write a story with maps at the center of it, but that is exactly what I have done. "All of Our Past Places," out in the gloriously named Journal of Unlikely Cartography. It's about maps and about friendship and I'm not sure if it's about getting lost, exactly, but it is very much about being found. 

And there really is a St. Patrick's Purgatory, on Station Island, in Ireland. Seamus Heaney wrote about it, as did Marie de France, in her Espurgatoire seint Patriz, about a knight named Owein, who goes to Purgatory and returns via the cavern on the island.

Sometimes places are even more complicated than maps.


  1. Maybe it what the map's mapping rather than the map itself.

  2. I've seen the glowing testimonials about you on Twitter, and I wish I could walk you through using a map. For me, I think, it's been to find familiar intersections on the map and compare them to my surroundings, then continue to compare the two. Maybe that's facile....