exploring the wild & wishful spaces

I'm sure you know by now that I have a particular interest in geography. Not though in the proper idea of it ...

Geography: "a science that deals with the description, distribution, and interaction of the diverse physical, biological, and cultural features of the earth's surface."

I don't believe in that. Which may sound strange, that I don't believe in rocks and sedimentary layers and rivers and forests. Of course I believe they exist. But I believe we can't know even the most basic thing about them if we're only describing them, their distribution, their interactions.

"Geography is messy. You may go walking out across a meadow, but along the way you encounter little hills, and ditches, and pools, and weed forests, until you must surely relinquish the simplicity of the idea meadow, and acknowledge something far more wild and indefinable.
"It is the same for the landscape of self."

(from Driftways.)

And yes, I believe geography involves inner worlds - our own inner worlds, but those too of the river and the mouse-tracked, sea-dreaming forest, and the shadow which moves between them, and the words we use to name them, and the memories they stir for us, and the landscape of those myriad relationships.

To me, writing is a deep and soul-guided exploration of the various geographies of life and story. I find it odd when writing advice sites tell you to "consider carefully the setting (background/location) of your story," - because in my opinion it's all setting. A story doesn't just take place in a location, but also a perspective, and a mood, and a gathering of particular words that echo the voice of the author, the rills and rivulets and small cliffsides of her natural sound. Those are the interesting places to rummage around in, gathering pebbles and fallen leaves and snippets of sentences to put in your pockets, before going home to your own place for a nice cup of tea.

What are the geographies of the stories you tell yourself?

(this post was written in response to ALM Writes July prompts; today was explore.)

1 comment:

  1. i couldn't agree more with you -- my inner worlds involve geography and my geography involves inner worlds. they are truly intertwined and would be difficult to separate. in our call for submissions for upcoming issues we've asked to see work that is at the intersection of the personal and the geographic -- hoping for some deftly layered musings ;-)