The first time I got on an airplane, I took an atlas with me. I had studied geography in school (does anyone do that anymore?) and didn’t want to miss any of the details.
We rose above the clouds–magic! The clouds looked solid enough to bounce on. The clouds cleared away and I looked down–and was horrified. Everything was the same color. Rivers were not blue, there were no state lines, and while I knew each state wasn’t going to be the color of the atlas, I did think it would look a lot more like a map.
From that day forward, I was in love with maps. This was long before GoogleEarth, so cartographers were still drawing on paper, creating a reality that we all believed.
I began to make my own maps. Of my house. Of my neighborhood. And then I began to make imaginary maps, of places I had never seen and had never been. Seeing that there were no lines on the earth gave me the freedom to leave the cartographer idea behind and make up new ideas.
Lately, I’ve been creating imaginary maps. Sometimes they have lines and descriptions, names that describe my emotions (Sea of Doubt, Scattered Thought Islands, Outlet Inlet). Sometimes they are blank. Because each time we see our lives, we see them in different context, with different emotions and information. There are no lines. There are no markers on most of our lives.
Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself. —Alan Alda
–-Quinn McDonald is still on the road of discovery. Sometimes she has a map, sometimes she makes it up as she goes along.