writer as cartographer

Something about Peter Turchi‘s words resonates with my own research process, which includes, obviously, keeping this blog. (This blog just might be a map of my imagination).

Writing is often discussed as two separate acts–though in practice they overlap, intermingle and impersonate each other. They differ in emphasis but are by no means merely sequential. If we do them well, both result in discovery. One is the act of exploration: some combination of premeditated searching and undisciplined, perhaps only partially conscious rambling. This includes scribbling notes, considering potential scenes, lines, or images, inventing characters, even writing drafts. History tells us that exploration is assertive action in the face of uncertain assumptions, often involving false starts, missteps, and surprises–all familiar parts of the writer’s work. If we persist, we discover our story (or poem, or novel) within the world of that story. The other act of writing we might call presentation. Applying knowledge, skill and talent we create a document meant to communicate with, and have an effect on, others. The purpose of a story or poem, unlike that of a diary, is not to record our experience but to create a context for, and to lead the reader on, a journey.

That is to say, at some point we turn from the role of Explorer to take on that of Guide.

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