Glittering Shores of Cyberspace

Next time you’re on the login page, look down between News and VIP. Press the Stat button and be amazed. This is the coolest live map I’ve seen in a while. It’s a digital Mercator projection of our WordPress world. It pinpoints when and where people are blogging, liking, and commenting using WordPress. For a while, just watch it.message-in-a-bottle-2_l Blogs float up from the expected places: Western Europe, UK, and the North Americas. It’s the rest of the world that fascinates me. Every once in a while, dots of light flash from Malaysia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India or Japan.

(Maybe I haven’t been watching closely enough, but so far I’ve seen nothing from Russia or China. North Korea remains ominously dark.)

Still, I love the thought someone is blogging while I’m watching, folks are shooting thoughts into the net, hoping someone will snatch their virtual message in a bottle from the glittering shores of cyberspace. Even if I never read their blogs I know, like the stars, other people are out there, expressing their hopes and fears, creativity and humor, dark places and light sides.

Somehow I feel connected, closer to my invisible sisters and brothers. Call me a Borg, but it comforts me watching the pulse of our collective intellect.

Why do you blog? Are you reaching out for contact?

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Kraftwerck / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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Find Your Way Through

Maps are magic, aren’t they?

A visit to writer Kirsten’s blog, A Scenic Route reminded me to honor my maps.

Honestly, until I read her entry, Getting My Bearings, I’d forgotten about the maps I created for my novel.

So, I’ve plundered the huge pile of miscellaneous papers, notes, stickies, and stuff on my desk and salvaged the following items. The first map I found was the route my heroes take after crash landing on an alien world. They have to reach the capital city within two days, skirting death and destruction on the way.  From this bird’s-eye view I was able to move them forward, describing the surroundings, while not letting them wander into the bush. My battle maps are gone. The military advisor at my house (war veteran husband) suggested a sprawling conventional battlefield might be replaced by door-to-door urban warfare. He was right. Instead of a map, I used a numbered list. But, there are many ways to put maps and other 2D art to use in writing. The tiny escape craft pictured here ferries my characters across the galaxy. I needed a way inside the craft as two species got acquainted by total immersion. Picturing the shell of the ship helped immensely. And, when everyone is back on Earth, I wanted to avoid the fatal error of naming streets in famous cities incorrectly so here is my beautiful plastic covered map of DC.

I have to admit I envy any author who can function without these aides. What would it be like to know where your MC is all the time, how he arrived there, and where he will end up? What a fantastic skill that would be!

Even so, using a picture can create a novel, and a map can envision a world.

How do you envision your world without using words?