My Map of Narnia
I’ve decided to spend my writer-in-residency here at Inside A Dog telling you about some of my favourite things. The only difficulty is narrowing it down!
“The world is so full of a number of things,” said Robert Louis Stevenson, “I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Incidentally, he wrote Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, so he probably didn’t always feel like that. BUT ANYWAY.
Here are The Things!
1. My Map of Narnia
I have the most extraordinary thing. It is a poster-sized map of Narnia. It was published by Puffin in the UK in 1972, and I have had it ever since I was ten years old, when I discovered it in a bookshop in Sydney. I grew up with it pinned up in my bedroom. Then eventually I got it framed, and now it hangs in the room where I have written most of my books. It means a great deal to me, because when I was a child I was passionate about the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. I still think they are unique. But it’s also true that artists and illustrators have always been very important to me — particularly the artists and illustrators connected to my favourite children’s books — and I think this imaginary map is an exquisite piece of artwork. (My all-time favourite book cover is the original Puffin one for The Magician’s Nephew, also by Pauline Baynes).
If I was to go a little further though, I could say that it has a special significance to me because it is a map.
I am the kind of person who needs a map for her life. A map and a compass! (The compass is my heart.) A map can never insure you against the difficult or unexpected, of course — the abrupt changes in weather, the walks that seem longer than they did on paper and the climbs that feel more rugged, the dragons, the enchanted castles, the witches, the fear, the confusion and, worst of all, the times when you lose hope. Sometimes maps are wrong anyway! But I think it makes all the difference to know what direction you are trying to go in — even if what you find on the journey is completely different from what you expected.
I don’t really care where I end up. All I care about is where I’m trying to go. And every day, metaphorically, I consult my map of Narnia, and my compass heart. I feel like they point me in the right direction.
Which book's map would keep you pointed in right direction?
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