Friday, October 23, 2009

The Power Of A Map - And A Plan

How did we miss this? Thanks to the Columbia Compass blog for pointing out this essay by author Michael Chabon called "Maps and Legends."

In it, Chabon recalls stopping by the old Exhibit Center and being handed a large, fold-out map that offered a vision of the original Working Group's dream for Columbia. He writes about the power it had over him then, and still did in 2001 when he wrote the piece.

The judgments of Columbia's critics may or may not be accurate, but it seems to me, looking back at the city of my and James Rouse's dreams from 30 years on, that just because you have stopped believing in something you once were promised does not mean that the promise itself was a lie. Childhood, at its best, is a perpetual adventure, in the truest sense of that overtaxed word: a setting forth into trackless lands that might have come to existence the instant before you first laid eyes on them. How fortunate I was to be handed, at such an early age, a map to steer by, however provisional, a map furthermore ornamented with a complex nomenclature of allusions drawn from the poems, novels and stories of mysterious men named Faulkner, Hemingway, Frost, Hawthorne, and Fitzgerald! Those names, that adventure, are with me still, every time I sit down at the keyboard to sail off, clutching some dubious map or other, into terra incognita.

No comments: