Triggering a Map of the Imagination

“I’ll draw another mental map and build a city entirely with ice-covered pink stones…”

On February 3, I wrote a blog post for the San Diego Book Review, entitled “Triggering a Map of the Imagination.” Check out the excerpt below and let me know what you think!

I ride in the cozy car world of dashboard lights and Nina Simone’s blues. My mind races after a day in the country, a day of coffee and talk with my brother. I sing along with Nina until I spot a log cabin on the right side of the highway. It’s only a demonstration model, the sales information is printed on a yellow sign. I slow down for a better look inside.

My cabin and I live in Blue Ridge mountain country, in a hollow facing a pebbly creek. I walk down to the creek, frozen in spots, thick weeds along its banks glisten like green stalks of glass. I pull on my gloves and hat and zip my jacket. My boots sink in icy mud as I slog along the bank to where the creek narrows. Tangled brush stops me; water gushes through brambles swirling like bits of saffron. More color higher up. I climb and find a rotting log with five rows of fungi in orange, pink, cream and yellow.

The wind’s up. Chilled, I walk to my cabin, open the door that’s carved in the stylized forms of bears; the door handle is a dark wooden curl. A kind neighbor sculpted the door for me. The door creaks where it scrapes the floor. In the right corner, a double bed sits just as I left it, covered in a pile of blankets, with a frayed red and black-checked blanket on top. Four pillows in red flannel cases are stacked against the headboard. I throw my jacket and gloves on the bed.

The kitchen’s to my left. An old double sink sits under an irregular sized window. Ahead of me the floor planks look clean, but when I turn my footprints mark the dust. The spiders and bugs love the wooden counter. I spot a few spider webs, but leave them alone. A large mason jar sits on the window sill. Recently I filled it with water and small rocks, now the water’s low, the rocks have turned brown. The bird skull and part of a snake skin are coated in dust…

You can read the full post on the San Diego Book Review website.


  1. Purav Jha on January 23, 2024 at 2:00 am

    It is winding down. I stroll over to my cabin, where I open the door with a dark wooden curl serving as the door handle. The door is carved with stylized bear shapes. The door was sculpted for me by a friend. The door makes a sound when it brushes against the floor. The double bed I left in the right corner is still there, piled high with blankets and topped with a frayed red and black checked blanket. The headboard is backed by four pillows in red flannel cases. I hit the bed with my gloves and jacket.

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