The Treasures of Maps

It’s funny how varied the places are from which we look back. Sometimes it’s merely a few months; maybe a few years.

Other times, it’s seventeen years and it completely takes you by surprise.

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about how Atlantis: TVC was originally conceived while I was in high school, in geography class; because sitting around after finishing a test is boring as… well, staring at a wall. [and if not, you now know.]

I was digging around in my documents folder and I found a stash of old files related to the original concept of Atlantis from the 90s that had somehow survived four hard drive failures, and moving across three laptops! One of those files was a map.

While this isn’t the original map–the true original one was drawn in pencil in the notebook of a former friend along with several early iterations of Achine’s design, and is long lost to me–it’s the closest thing I still have of it. It’s a horrible scan, with the levels screwed around to remove the lines from the notebook paper, then colored sometime in 2000/2001 in Photoshop. I cringe when I look at this. Cringe. Then I remember that I was fifteen at the time, and teenagers aren’t known for their cartography. I redid the Atlantian map last year when I was in the planning phase of Volume #1. This is the current map, the one you see at the front of the books.

Like night and day! You can see where I actually did research into geographical features and map making instead of half-assing it like Teen Mel did. Things moved; were renamed, rearranged. You can even see the original sigil on the first one, and how it has changed too. [It had an arrow in it, and was three-toned for no damn reason. Teen Mel made some bad choices.]

My point in dragging this out is that reflection is good. Keep your old stuff–look back on it frequently. Laugh at it. Cry if you want to. Cringe. Hold it close, because it’s precious.

Wait, what?

Yes, it’s precious. There is no way to measure how much we have grown if we have no point to compare it to! I’ve been feeling down about everything lately–and it has started to bleed over into my work, bringing my writing to a halt. But you know what? Seeing that stupid old map [circa 1998, yo!] made me realize that I may feel bad now, but in the future I will look back on this point and feel like I am doing better than right now. It was fortunate that I stumbled upon it, because it reminded me that my future self will always be better than my current self as long as I keep moving forward, practicing, trying new things–improving.

Here’s to many cringe-inducing looks backward to come! Now if you’ll excuse me, I also found an old fanfic I wrote from the same year, and I have plans to read it and hate myself. I’m sure it’s horrible.

If you need me, I’ll be hiding my shame behind this cat…

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