Things Fantasy Has Taught Me – Part 1: Maps

I have a special place in my heart for the Chronicles of Narnia. After Goldilocks and the Three Bears, they are the first fantasy books I clearly remember. My mother would read them to me and my sisters long before I learned to read, curled up on the floor together in the Rock House. The house itself merits a post of its own. I should post on it in the future. Good memories. Rough memories but good ones.

My family and I went through a period where we became involved in a church that was very fundamentalist. All fantasy books, especially those with talking animals like Narnia, were banned. I mourned those books. Years later, as I’ve written in a previous post my father bought a new set and we enjoyed them together as an entire family. I remember clearly the chapter in Prince Caspian where Edmund told Susan that girl’s “couldn’t keep maps in their heads”, implying that girlhood meant someone couldn’t have a good sense of direction.

My eleven-year-old self was mad! I spend the next year building maps in my head whenever we drove in the car. Whenever my father drove from the north of the south of the western U.S. I would read to him from the map and chart out progress. I was going to prove Edmund wrong!

Edmund’s playful goad to his sister paid off. Years later, even trapped in the grip of a migraine late at night in Hong Kong, I led my friends back to our hotel after we got turned around, because of the map I had subconsciously built in my head from years of determined, ego-driven practice. Girls too, could be good with maps, dang it!

Thanks, Edmund.

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