Monday, September 22, 2008
especially historical maps, is they take forever to do. I'm struggling a bit with all the new tricks Adobe Illustrator does, but that isn't the real problem... It's not the software but the sources. The dozen old maps I'm using were drawn over a span of 3 centuries by people of various skill, getting the pieces to line up is is kinda like jamming a puzzle that warped in the rain.
And you can't just cheat and use a Google map. Things change in 400 years, they do, rivers are dammed up or change course, town centers shift, cemeteries fill up, ponds disappear, land fills fill up, and wars change things. Plus modern highways and rail bridges obscure the sheep paths and hills that seemed to dictate the way roads happened back then.
I'm learning a lot. Bet most of you didn't know Walden Woods (of the famous pond) was a skanky hummocked tract of sandy unfarmable land, which is why it was a woods when Thoreau hung out in his cabin. Or that freed slaves moved there.
I didn't know that so many writers serially lived in one house in Concord that just going there should relieve writer's block. Here it is: The Wayside home to: Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Sidney (who wrote the Five Little Peppers, I can't be the only one who ever read those books!). How many transcendentalists does it take to screw in a light bulb? None, they were lit wicks.
But I'll be glad to leave Concord when I'm done with the map. No offense. I'm sure it is a lovely town, even two centuries later. But I need to stop gawking at all the old sites.