Places, Experiences and Mapping

What is a place? And what is its significance?

First lets define place. Place is a particular position or point in space. It can refer to a living space, a place of worship, or even entertainment. It can also be a feeling or perception held by a person. These places can be unique and special to some creating an attachment. But when you write about a place you have to give the physical aspects as well as the characteristics that relate to you. But in order to understand place you need to understand experience.

There are two experiences. Primary is your initial experience. And Secondary is the experience you reflect on. You can go to a place and have a primary experience then later you will have the secondary experience when you reflect on the experience and how you relate to it.

In What is a Sense of Place by Jennifer Cross she goes over the characteristics related to people and places.  She says that the concept of sense of place came from two different aspects. Relationships to place being the first aspect, and community attachment being he second. People can relate to places by creating  bonds and types of  attachments to a place in particular. But you as a person are not limited to have a relationship with one places but many ppeople have relationships with multiple places.

Cross goes over characteristics between people and places in the Table below .

Table 1.1 Relationships to places

I can agree that you can become connected to a place which then becomes meaningful to you in a certain way.

An example that comes to mine is the story that my mom tells us about how she grew up. And unless you have lived there you may not be able to actually relate unless you have visited and experienced it yourself. I have heard many stories on how the home was only one room and that she would have to walk down to the creek to fetch water and there was no bathroom nor was there a stove because there was no electricity. See my mom is not that old so I always thought her stories of living out in the middle of no where in White Plains Ga. were bogus. A few years ago on a sad occasion after a funeral we decided as a family to visit the land that my mom was with her sisters which was the very place where she grew up. This place had only created a Narrative Relationship with me. I had only grew oup on stories about this place.  But as I experienced the land on which my mother lived and saw the home in which she lived in it became a Biographical Relationship now I’m not only emotionally connected with this place but my mother as well.

When writing it is important to create the Places and hen determine the Experiences.

In Katherine Harmons book, Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imaginationshe states that people have the instinct to map. People often create a map of their own after experiencing certain places. Everyone experiences places different. Therefore there are many different maps.

But each places, experiences, and mapping go into writing! You can’t have just one to make a good story.