Welcome to the sixth issue of you are here: the journal of creative geography. We are thrilled to be with you once again. Each year, we look forward to seeing where our potential contributors tow us off to, where they carry us in their explorations of "place" and the meanings of creative geography. This time, they carry us along an intricate path of memory, artifact, personal and community history; across the juxtaposed landscapes of prairie and coastline, dense cities and their fringes; on flights of circulating wind and rain, snow and fire, smog; and even on the otherworldly, atmospheric leaps of artist Catherine Eyde's "Women in Space."
This issue, like every issue of you are here, is multi-textured, both in form and in subject matter. For instance, these pieces demonstrate that the texture of place can sometimes be sensed most strongly in the very air around us - as in the smell of wildfire smoke along Daniel Ostmann's California coast, the sound of hurricane blows against the shutters of David Lee's south Florida abodes, and the touch of the coldest of prairie winds in Kevin Lutz's North Dakota grasslands. At other times, it is a different sort of texture that helps us to recognize where we are - like the layering of place with personal and collective histories accomplished by Lutz's family photographs and recollections and by David Plane's journey through the Berkeley that was his own in 1969.
As much as it is about any other sense of "geography," this issue is about our myriad ways of experiencing a particular place when we embrace a certain self-reflexivity. In some instances - such as Amy Ratto's view from the Oregon coast, Troy Cochrane's photographic journey in Taiwan, or Melissa McCarthy's central London commute - this is a self-reflexivity gained by trying to see where we are through eyes of someone who is absent or even unknown. For others - like Eyde, Plane, and Kathleen Veslany writing about her time spent in Valencia, Spain - the introspection means becoming aware of how our past, future or imagined selves affect our perceptions of the here-and-now.
Whether we encounter a place at a particular point in time or over a lifetime, such an awareness profoundly shapes the experience itself, in-the-moment, as much as it shapes the words and images we choose to depict it.
And along with these encounters and contemplations there come questions when we take a moment to write or snap a photo or sketch or otherwise build our cartographies. Looking outward, as our contributors each prompt us to do: How will we approach the encounter, and how does it approach us? Do we approach it as a familiar resident, a commuter, a studious note-taker, solitary traveler, companion, correspondent, bearer-of-memories, reader, weather-watcher, writer, painter, photographer, cartographer? Or more than likely as some combination of these. That we arrive in some form or another as a "geographer" may go without saying.
These writers and artists have offered you, our readers, much more than I have touched on here. Many thanks go to these generous contributors who dug deep, very deep, when we asked, to the visual artists: "What can you also tell us in words?" and, to the writers: "What more can you show us in images?" Leaping out of our customary modes of representation - I now tend to think that leads to the most creative of geographies.
Over the last year, the journal has become my companion, and its contributors, editors, advisors and other supporters have become friends. I'm grateful that the energy, creativity, and stubbornness of vision of each one has helped to create yet another collective and thickly-layered here. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you.
© 2009 you are here and the department of geography and regional development at the university of arizona