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Fill in the Blanks -- Writer's Poke #145

For Writers:

I've always had a fondness for maps. Growing up, I used to study the Rand McNally road atlas for fun. How many kids did that? Without fail, I was always the navigator on any road trip, and I've always had a fascination for seeing new places.

Family road trips generally involved driving hundreds on Interstates. So while I've been to just about every state, I cannot really say that I've seen every state. For example, I've driven through Arkansas many times, but my knowledge doesn't extend much past the I-55 corridor.

And as much as I love maps, it embarrasses me to admit just how little I know about geography. Before moving to Augusta, Georgia, I had no idea which part of the state it was in. Likewise, when I was offered a job in Rochester, Minnesota, I didn't know a thing about southeastern Minnesota. Most people probably recognize Augusta for the Masters and Rochester for Mayo Clinic, but I'm not sure that I even knew that much.

My knowledge of anything outside the United States is even more pathetic. It's often said that every part of the world has been discovered, but if you gave me a globe, I could point out where China is, but there's little that I could actually describe about the blank space within its borders. Does it have mountains, rivers, cities? Of course, but don't ask me to name them.

Think of a place that you've never been. How does your imagination describe it? Now, think about a place that you recently visited for the first time. Was your imaginary portrait of that place even close to being an accurate representation?

"It's not down in any map; true places never are." -- Herman Melville


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