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What do you tend to see most often when you look at clouds? Rabbits? People’s faces? For me, it’s geographical features like islands and continents. You could say I tend to have maps on the brain.

Yet few would deny that the clouds in this picture, which was posted by The Telegraph, look almost exactly like the islands of Great Britain and Ireland:

It makes sense that we tend to see certain things everywhere we look if those things are important to us. When I was a kid, it was often the outline of the continent of Europe, as I dreamed about the day I would visit it. Sometimes I would also see the east coast of the U.S. and try to find my home state of Connecticut within the wisps. As my travel expanded to other parts of the world, like Southeast Asia, I started to see those landforms as well.

A similar phenomenon probably happens to Zinke, the main character in my book, Map of Daggers. A cartographer by profession, he spends all day looking down at maps, so that when he finally looks up, I’m sure he sees them in the sky too.

In the book, there is another character called Drachmus who is the military commander. He has a typically aggressive, warmongering personality. When he looks up, he sees armies of clouds charging at each across the sky. Another character trains super-intelligent cats. When she looks at the clouds, she sees her beloved felines playing. They all bring their personalities into their perspective, as the content of what they see is influenced by what they most want to see.

This isn’t part of my book yet, but I might find a way to work it in, because it’s an interesting way to develop a character and show where his or her passion truly lies. Maybe another military leader looks up at the clouds expecting to see charging armies, but instead he sees the face of his girlfriend whom he misses, revealing a softer side to that character that we didn’t previously know.

What do you see when you look at the clouds?

Happy Mapping and Cloudgazing!

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