Here it is. Welcome to the Tenth Anniversary edition of you are here. Before you read another word of the eleventh printed volume, I dare you to pause. Feel the weight of the journal in your hands. Slide your fingers over the glossy cover taking care of the two mere staples that hold you are here together. Look up from the pages. Where are you? What do you see? What do you hear? Where will you go next?
Resume. I arrived in Tucson five years ago, a rambunctious freshman with no real direction and despised the place. The intense glare of the hundred plus degree sun burned my skin and my psyche. The crowded campus of the University of Arizona was a sprawling maze of possibilities and people. I struggled to negotiate the space. I changed majors; I changed hair colors; I changed friends. Nothing quite fit. But as I began to adapt to the desert, I settled on creative writing as a major. However, the next semester, I took a geography course, and without losing a beat, I held on to both. As I progressed through my studies, I delighted in the useful connections I discovered time and time again between creative writing and geography. I discovered that the desert—instead of the barren expanse of rock and sand it had first seemed—was full of life. My connection to the place grew stronger, and I needed to boast. Who might listen? What I needed was a place where merging geography and creativity was encouraged, was delighted in, was required; what I needed was you are here. Here it is.
As we celebrate ten years of you are here, it is important to consider how we discovered the journal. Kimi Eisele, the founding editor, reflects on her desire for a better space in which to discuss and alter the discipline of geography, and thus, her motivation for creating you are here. Her piece is the issue’s anchor and serves as the center spread where all eleven covers are reprinted. She reiterates the call to again consider the most fundamental question of you are here: what does place mean to you?
Branching out from the anchor at the center of the issue, Lorraine Berry’s memoir shows that while our physical connection to place may be transitory, the need to find such connections remains strong. Stace Ginsburg’s photography and prose show that the power of memory can keep our connection to place intense. Lowell Mick White’s detailed descriptions of the farmland of West Virginia, and Lauren Linsalata’s tour of the New Mexico colorscape remind us that there is much to be discovered below the surface. Whether we be wandering the dark catacombs of Paris or the crumbled avenues of the ruins at Tuzigoot, the vigorous streets of New York City or the abandoned breakers of Pennsylvania, the longing to describe and share the importance of place is evident.
We are reminded that mapping induces distortion, whether it be mapping a piece of fiction or the physical landscape. John Williams’ cylindrical globes hint at the abstraction caused when a three dimensional world is translated to other mediums, while his drawings emphasize context. Hellen Harty’s interview with Peter Turchi indicates that distortion is also difficult to avoid in the writing process. Meanwhile, Elliot Harmon contemplates the implications of a flat earth, and Benjamin Fraser’s woodblock print shows each place is merely one piece in the larger flow of life.
Each work represents the call of you are here to contemplate the importance of place. As we celebrate ten years of you are here, it is essential that we also consider the question: where will we go next? In a world that becomes increasingly electronic by the day, we must wonder whether there is need any longer for a printed journal. So I urge you once again to enjoy the experience of holding this journal in your hands. Can it take you places that your computer screen cannot?
We are deeply grateful to our readers, contributors, and benefactors, and we hope you enjoy this issue of you are here. Whether the coming years find us in print or virtual, we hope you will continue to support our need to maintain this place, this journal, where creative geography sprouted and continues to thrive in the harsh desert sun.
© 2009 you are here and the department of geography and regional development at the university of arizona