A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected. …Reif Larsen: The Selected Works of T S Spivet
I experienced a little thrill when I first read the above, for it defined me precisely.
It’s no coincidence that I call my blog ‘Poetic Mapping: Walking into Art’. Thoughts come as I work and walk (as artist and writer) that seemingly have no connection. When these thoughts arrive, I know I’m at the start of a Great Walk by the conclusion of which I’ll have bridged the disparate ideas, and arrived at an epiphany. It could be said that my life is a map of epiphanies.
Here’s an example: some years ago my cat killed a bird in the garden. He hunted; it was his nature and I could do nothing to stop him; but I was devastated on this occasion, more so than usual, especially because on examination I had discovered something extraordinary about the bird, a young finch. And I began to think of my late brother and how as a little boy he used to make crude ‘machines’ from off-cuts of wood and nails scavenged from our Granda’s shed. And I knew there was a connection between my late brother’s little machines and the little impossible dead bird. And that I was to traverse the terrain between the two ideas until they converged. Make a bridge between them.
Oh, and I’ve been interrupted while writing this. My husband came in from the garden just now and told me there was a bird trapped in a hedge that bounds one side of our property. It was a ringed-necked dove and had somehow got itself between two layers of wire netting erected by our neighbour. I was able to free the bird and it flew off, protesting loudly at its saviour!
Was this compensation for the bird I couldn’t save? I’m going to believe so.
P S I bought the book of course. And there’s a film; it’s called: The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet and stars Helena Bonham-Carter as the mother of T S.