Maps are of time, not place. Maps show not only where we're headed, but they show us where we've been. Without them we would not only lose our way, but our past as well.
No, I didn't write that. I stole it from the home page of the Save Texas History link from the Texas General Land Office Archives and Records web page . They give credit to English poet Henry Reed.
I went to the Texas Book Festival in downtown Austin this afternoon (picking Daniel up from UT along the way), but instead of coming home with books, I carried copies of historical maps...Texas in 1874 and Austin in 1895. There were two or three others that I wanted as well, but I tried to exert a LITTLE control and common sense. One was an 1851 map for German immigrants - I was SO close to getting that one, too (a family history thing) but I can go to the website later and order it.
I've been wanting a large framed early map of Texas for a long, long, LONG, time. This one isn't framed, which is why I could afford it ($20 for each map.) I succumbed to my greed because my purchase is helping to SAVE TEXAS HISTORY! It's part of an historic preservation program of the Texas General Land Office. I will also use it as reference for my screenplay...the 1895 Austin map, too, which is really cool - it isn't just a road map...it's a "bird's eye view" with sketches of the buildings ON the roads.
I could never really explain why I'm drawn to old maps - I think they're beautiful...pieces of art...but I knew that wasn't the only reason. Finally, thanks to Reed, there are words for my feelings.
However, I didn't go to the Book Festival for the maps - that was a bonus! I went to listen to a panel about writing memoirs which included Stephanie Klein, author of Straight Up and Dirty, and Moose, and the blog, "Greek Tragedy." I hoped to meet her afterward at the book signing, but Daniel hadn't eaten yet, and I was already hungry again. By the time we found something to eat and made our way to the book-signing tent, Stephanie and the other panel authors - Jeannie Ralston, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, and Robert LeLeux - were already gone.
Their inspiration lingers...I feel little idea seeds for a couple of memoirs sprouting in my brain. But first there's this screenplay, and my children's book, and a couple of short stories...