categorized under:


“Starting out, I imagined a straightforward book in three parts, moving along a taut narrative path with a sturdy foundation of clay undergirding all. Books have their own fates, however, and research—at least the kind of research that I practice—yields to serendipity. If the destination is known beforehand, what’s the point of the journey? A provisional map of the whole allows the woolgathering pilgrim to get a little lost along the way without losing his bearings completely. Meanwhile, coincidences and chance meetings confirm a certain rightness, a fit, in the meandering quest.”

more info

source: Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay: Reflections on Art, Family, and Survival (New York: The Penguin press, 2012), 15.

category: , , , , , , , , , ,

medium: Memoir

“I feel, sometimes, like I have a map in my pocket that folds up, and I pull it out, and it’s bigger than the table, and there’s a thousand places to go with her.”

more info

source: Interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, NPR, October 31, 2011. [full transcript here]

category: , , , , ,

medium: Interview

“I would like my personal reading map to resemble a map of the British Empire circa 1900; I’d like people to look at it and think, How the hell did he end up right over there?

more info

source: “May 2005,” in Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt (San Francisco, CA: Believer Books, 2006), 51.

buy on Amazon

category: , , ,

medium: Essay

“Prominent among the curses of civilization is the map that folds up ‘convenient for the pocket.’ There are men who can do almost everything except shut a map. It is calculated that the energy wasted yearly in denouncing these maps to their face would build the Eiffel Tower in thirteen weeks.”

more info

source: “Shutting a Map,” in A Tillyloss Scandal (New York: Lovell, Coryell & Co., 1893), 207.

view on Google Books

category: , ,

medium: Nonfiction

“Following straight lines shortens distances, and also life.”

more info

source: Voices: Aphorisms, selected and translated by W. S. Merwin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988), 16.

category: , , , , , ,

medium: aphorism

“CAUTION: As the buoys marking the shoals are often out of position, mariners are cautioned to be on their guard when navigating these shores.”

more info

source: from a maritime map, as quoted by Gerald Durrell in My Family and Other Animals (New York: Penguin Books, 2004), introduction, xiii.

buy on Amazon
view on Google Books

category: , , , , , , , , ,

medium: map

Quality Quote Collecting