Maps of the Imagination
The Writer as Cartographer
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In Maps of the Imagination, Peter Turchi posits the idea that maps help people understand where they are in the world in the same way that literature, whether realistic or experimental, attempts to explain human realities. The author explores how writers and cartographers use many of the same devices for plotting and executing their work, making crucial decisions about what to include and what to leave out, in order to get from here to there, without excess baggage or a confusing surplus of information. Turchi traces the history of maps, from their initial decorative and religious purposes to their later instructional applications. He describes how maps rely on projections in order to portray a three-dimensional world on the two-dimensional flat surface of paper, which he then relates to what writers do in projecting a literary work from the imagination onto the page.
Trinity University Press, 9781595340412, 245pp.
Publication Date: August 28, 2007
About the Author
Called "one of the country's foremost thinkers on the art of writing" by the Houston Chronicle, Peter Turchi's books include A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic, Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer; Suburban Journals: The Sketchbooks, Drawings, and Prints of Charles Ritchie, in collaboration with the artist; a novel, The Girls Next Door; and a collection of stories, Magician. Turchi's short story "Night, Truck, Two Lights Burning," listed as one of 100 Notable Stories of 2002 by the editors of Best American Short Stories and one of 15 Recommended Stories by the jury for the O. Henry Prize Stories, has been published in Arabic and, in English, combined with images by Charles Ritchie, in a limited edition artist's book. He has also coedited, with Andrea Barrett, A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft and The Story Behind the Story: 26 Stories by Contemporary Writers and How They Work; and, with Charles Baxter, Bringing the Devil to His Knees: The Craft of Fiction and the Writing Life. Turchi's stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Story, the Alaska Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, and the Colorado Review. He has received Washington College's Sophie Kerr Prize, an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award, North Carolina's Sir Walter Raleigh Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. From 1993 to 2008 he directed the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Turchi recently taught at Arizona State University, where he was director of the creative writing program, and he's currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Houston.