“Riding through Vienna on a bus, something dawned on me that I’d never thought of before: While moving along, I kept seeing places and sites that live vividly in my memory because of events that happened there: The faded Czech gasthaus where I often ate dinner during a bitter cold winter and where one evening before the food came, I finished writing my book THE WOODEN SEA. The outdoor restaurant next to the Danube Canal where A and I sat one glorious summer afternoon while the annual Viennese Gay/Love Parade was marching by a hundred feet away, trance music blasting. Memories like that. I realized everyone has their own very personal and private map of where they live. If a million people populate a city, then there are one million different maps. Whether it’s a city or a small town, there are precise sites and ‘x marks these spots’ all over it that are important or sacred or yes, sometimes crushing— but only to you and occasionally the others who shared the experience with you. Although everyone has their own map, they rarely overlap because what matters to me, what I remember about the importance of those places in my life, frequently means little to you and vice versa. Only after you’ve been with someone a long time are your maps similar. Even so, there remain places the people in our lives, even intimates, will never know the significance of to us: the park bench where you were kissed, a bar where he wept, the café with the huge windows that serves the great bagels, even those airport exit doors you watched so intensely while waiting for them to arrive that miraculous December night… The rest of the planet will pass these locations without a glance or a thought. But whenever you pass them you think there it is— that one is fixed forever on the map of me."
— JONATHAN CARROLL