Sunday, July 7, 2013

I have a confession to make

Okay, here goes.

I judge a book by its cover.

I bought Maphead by Jeopardy winner Ken Jennings solely because of its cover. It caught my eye in a Barnes & Noble months ago with its clever cut out and use of maps. I wasn't entirely sure what it was about, but I know that geography fascinates me so I figured I couldn't really go wrong.


In college I took a course called Cultural Geography. My biggest takeaway from that class was an ability to correctly identify all the countries of the world in their proper place on a blank map. Awesome for cocktail parties, let me tell you. In all seriousness, one of our texts was Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience by Tuan. Thinking about how WHERE I am influences how I filter and experience everything and everyone around me was pretty eye-opening.

Chapter 2 of Maphead opens with a quite from Gabriel Marcel: "An individual is not distinct from his place. He is his place."

Amen.

For me, everything I am has been shaped by where I've been. I feel most like myself when I'm standing on the Northern California coastline, breathing in saltwater and surrounded by gorgeous little succulents. But that's not the only place imprinted on me...I breathe deeper and find myself most calm and centered in the midst of "big trees" - an inevitable byproduct of growing up in Redwood country and in the lush green forests of Oregon.

Right now, all of that and more is shaping how I interact with my current space/place. Nashville.

At first I thought this book was just going to be Jennings spouting off trivia to show his own intelligence but it's providing a ton of food for thought. This blog is all about the "next page." One of the most important lessons I've learned is that you can't understand what's coming next without a strong grasp on what just passed. You don't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been.

What places are the most important to you? What makes them so special?

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like a really intriguing book! I, too, am a sucker for a good book cover! I will have to check this out!

    I have definitely been formed by some of the places I have lived in/visited in the past. My ND roots gave me a sense of practicalism (not a word, I know) and my work ethic, Minneapolis made me appreciate live music and lakes/rivers (among other things) and it's where I learned how to thrive living alone. Lastly, Paris taught me that I need to live in a place that allows me to have a pedestrian lifestyle and that it is good for the soul to slow down your pace of life every once in awhile!

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  2. That sounds so interesting! I've added it to my "to read" - always good to have other options besides novels on that list. :)

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  3. I love being up in the mountains among all the redwoods. There's just something so peaceful and almost magical about it. It's been forever since I've been camping, but I'm really trying to convince the boy it's something we need to do together.

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Use your words.

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