Fellow blogger Auntadadoom @ http://twowrongsandawrite.com showed me a wonderful link about a book titled: “Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers” by Becky Cooper. It’s a collection of personal maps that all tell a story of New York City based on the experiences of the person making the map. Here is the link to the post, by Maria Popova: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/04/02/mapping-manhattan-becky-cooper/
One of my favorite writers, Malcom Gladwell, contributed one of the maps. It indicates certain locations in New York and what they mean to him: his first office on Madison Avenue, his first Manhattan apartment, the location from which he watched the towers fall on 9/11. He even points to the north and says “upstate! nature!”
What struck me about this map, and every map on that post, is how they offer a window into that person’s world. We often think of an ideal map as being objective and accurate. And you better hope that a map you take with you on a trip is both of these things.
But some maps might serve a different purpose. Maybe they’re meant to tell a story or describe what a city means to a certain individual.
With this in mind, I created my own personal map of Connecticut, my home state. It took me ten minutes with a blank outline of the state and images from clip art, so it’s a bit rough, but hey, it’s my personal map. I encourage everyone to do this, it’s pretty fun!
I picked about ten things which meant something to me, in placed them in very approximate locations.
In the southwest is the Big Apple (NYC). New Haven, of course, has the best pizza. Above that are scales to represent my law firm, and above that is where I bought my latest car. On the left side is a green ribbon to symbolize the tragedy that happened in Newtown a few months ago. I got my law school diploma in Hartford but my undergrad diploma is off the map in Boston, to the northeast. My favorite beach town of Newport is off the map too, in Rhode Island.
Making this map made me realize how much of the state I had no knowledge of. I put question marks up in the top left and top right corners to fill the space. These are mostly rural parts of the state, but I’m sure if the residents of these towns made their own personal maps, these areas would be more filled in.
What if you made your own personal map of your city or state? What would it say?