Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mapping Ourselves


When I was a girl, I wanted the whole world, so for my birthday I asked for an Atlas. Back in 1979, that was just about the only way you could be given the whole world (unless you asked for a globe). I was an avid reader as a child — I read everything in the house that could be read. Mostly that involved field guides, cookbooks, old National Geographics, a Dictionary, album liner notes, and the odd work of fiction. There wasn’t a lot to read — and maybe that’s what caused me to read what there was in the depth that I did. I know now that a lot of the esoteric knowledge I have came from that time; the things I know I never learned in school. I grew thirsty for knowledge I could acquire from books — and that thirst has never left me. I am still a non-fiction reader first and foremost. 

British was pink

Yesterday, I was rearranging my books, and in sorting out shelves, realized I now have several large Atlases, all library orphans whose time in the spotlight has been eclipsed by Google Earth and changing national borders.. They are beautiful objects, their pages detailing a flat world in a mass of lines, symbols, colors and names that never fail to bring wonder. 

London! So pretty. 

I wonder if my own children will ever be non-fiction nerds like me, or ever be drawn to peruse a giant book for hours on end, now that they have the world on their phones. 

I wonder if asked where they come from, and who they are, what they will say?

No comments:

Post a Comment