Welcome to the 7th volume of you are here: the journal of creative geography. As this year’s journal came together, a theme appeared that connected many of the pieces about place: what does it mean to call a certain place home? What makes the familiar loved, and how does home change as we do? How do our memories reconcile the snapshots we have—of moments with grandparents, the smells of rust and the paper sounds of unpacking dishes in a new house—with our current realities? When is a home lost; when it becomes abandoned, its empty windows simply mirrors for passersby? When people who made a place are forgotten? How do we imbue a new place with meaning so that it becomes home?
In the following journal you will find glimpses into past lives, present hopes, and future dreams based in place, as authors and artists attempt to capture slices of time and hold them in midair, a magic trick that Fanzo captured in her picture of a dune-jumper. On the cover are three images from Sullivan that jar our conceptions of the familiar, yet pull us into another appealing perspective. We continue the journey by examining familiar symbols in Towne’s “Saguaro Expose,” a photographic essay and commentary that questions the ubiquitous appearance of a regionally-specific species, the saguaro cactus. Wingfield brings us to his boyhood refuge in his essay, “Salvage,” and from there we can explore an abandoned home in Cadieux’s poem and pictures of a ghostly cottage. In Stoeckeler and Weber’s “Porthole Views” and Cadieux’s “Postcolonial Conservatory Camellias,” we are presented with unfamiliar places made personal through experience, and in Gillispie’s “Thamesland” and Gillispie’s “War in Iraq” we see familiar places made foreign by the aspects of confrontation brought into them. In “Thamesland,” confrontation enters the landscape with excessive restrictions on space, and in “War in Iraq,” with the knowledge of distant violence while we go about everyday things. A violence of a different kind—natural, by flood, in Hopkins’ “Destruction Gets Done”—is particularly poignant following the hurricane devastation that has racked Gulf Coast communities, and brings up another theme, that of homes lost. Scott explores lost (and forgotten) homes and populations in “Burial Rights,” describing how eternal resting places are displaced and history paved over near San Francisco. “Ozette Suess” also addresses history—that of ecological communities in Washington—in a unique poetic form that also serves as an ode to Dr. Suess, and Duwe’s “On the Edge of the Rim” takes us back in time even further, to an archaeological dig in Northern Arizona. Global political issues motivate the work of the Bees, whose work is introduced here; the global becomes local as they use the profits from their projects to restore their home in Maine. Historical relationships—with those we love, and with our ancestors, who have placed us where we are today—appear in Frey’s pieces, “Duet” and “Naming,” and we are left to wonder what happens when we diverge from the path that our culture and religion have dictated we should take, and instead forge out on our own. The journal ends with images from Hirst, in “Four: Trail, 2004” an impression of the natural world filtered through a creative lens, and with Huntgate-Hawk’s landscapes, which reveal scenes that remind us of somewhere we have been, sometime, and leave us with a feeling of hazy nostalgia.
The pieces in this issue of you are here evoke memories of places and people we have loved, and inspire us to reconsider the places in which we make our homes. Through writing, photography, etchings, and other creative expressions, the artists whose work fills these pages depict places as more than just physical spaces. Rather, places are homes—multi-layered, steeped in history, much loved, well-remembered—and shared here with you, the reader. I hope you enjoy exploring this issue as much as I have!
Susan L. Simpson
© 2009 you are here and the department of geography and regional development at the university of arizona