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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Connect With Maps

Connect With Maps
“Place in fiction is the named, identified, concrete, exact, and exacting and therefore credible, gathering spot of all that has been felt, is about to be experienced, in the novel’s progress. Location pertains to feeling; feeling profoundly pertains to place; place in history partakes of feeling, as feeling about history partakes of place.” Eudora Welty

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, a bridge is one of the unifying elements in Central Park Rendezvous, set in New York City. The concrete historic site links all four stories, past and present, as a meeting place and as a place to remember.

In the present day story, Dream a Little Dream by Ronie Kendig, it becomes an emotional magnet and map for the two main characters as they attempt to make sense of the letters and what they mean now. The letters provide a map going into history, and the bridge stands as a credible location to ground the present. It enables them to recognize and assimilate the reality of the past mystery that increasingly becomes a key to them personally. The bridge is a place of strength and comfort.

For Amy Cantrell, in Bridging Two Hearts by Michelle Ule, her bridge is multilayered. Crossing her west coast historic bridge is the only way to a new job and fresh opportunities, but to cross it brings on panic attacks as her emotional past threatens to sabotage her hope, literally and figuratively. This concrete and exacting place acts as both metaphor and map as Amy struggles physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Whether the author intended the internal map mirror or not, as a reader I found the juxtaposition of Amy’s struggle alongside Navy Seals in training an added resonant connection. They too were facing deeper commitments, physical danger and learning to overcome their fears.

Amy’s daily journey across her map zone built into her a growing strength to gather together her past and present. To her the bridge became captivity and conflict leading to confidence.

Journal Prompt:

            Your character returns home to visit after a long absence. Regardless of the emotional reasons for the visit, what is the first place she goes to when she can be alone for a few hours? Why? What solace or courage or grief does she attach to that location?

Share: What is one place you go to when you return to a familiar environment?

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