Power of a Map

Many of you may have noticed that I’ve used the same picture for my articles so far. A black and white map, aged, but detailed. There is a reason. You’ll continue to see that map crop up, as I write more articles related to this book I’m writing. I’ve chosen that map in particular, because it was one of my first physical pieces of inspiration. Since then, I’ve stocked away a bunch of items, but this is one that got this whole thing started.

When I look at a map, of my town, or my state, or spin a globe, I have this tendency to want to find my home. My location on that map; maybe the little town where I grew up, maybe one of the many places I’ve been lucky enough to visit. If I look hard enough, I can find it. I’ve found the same is true when I give my kids a map. They want to know where that familiar place is.

One of the premises of my book is what happens to a world, where the map can change at any given time, given the right set of circumstances. And not just the map, the whole world the map represents.

What would happen if the home you knew no longer existed, if it could be erased. If the world as you know it could be erased and changed. Cleft from what you know into something entirely different.

My home can change; the building fall down or be expanded or replaced. The places I know can change, but I’m certain they will continue to be on my map. What would it do to a person, though, if that hard truth wasn’t accurate?

There are places in this world devastated by mother nature or torn by war. The landscape changes in an instant. The whole world comes tumbling down, demolished, and then the people are left trying to figure out how to clean up the mess. Their homes are destroyed; their lives in ruins.

In my story, that devastation is real, and present, and felt by everyone. Years before, the entire known world was thrown into utter chaos as a power-hungry and desperate boy king tried to prove to the world he wasn’t his father. He wielded the power of a broken ally, all the power of war and mother nature, and left an entire kingdom in rocky, barren, desolate decay.

We see how that power, to craft or destroy, taints the people living under its shadow. We get a glimpse of what happens to people who fear, who suffer loss, who are eaten by anger and revenge. We get a taste of what manic desire to control can do.

And all that power is wrapped up in ink on paper. Lines and squiggles, curves and dots, plotted down on a canvas. But put that paper in the hands of a mapmaker, and kingdoms have fallen.

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