noun, plural topographies.

  1. The detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area, district, or locality.
  2. The detailed description, especially by means of surveying, of particular localities, as cities, towns, or estates.
  3. The relief features or surface configuration of an area.
  4. The features, relations, or configuration of a structural entity.
  5. A schema of a structural entity, as of the mind, a field of study, or society, reflecting a division into distinct areas having a specific relation or a specific position relative to one another.

“Document the world inside your skin.” The Decemberists


Accompanying my evident penchant for documenting the world upon my skin, I have decided it is the work of my life to explore and record my own interstices. I’ve been accused of being self-absorbed, and maybe it’s true, but as much as anything I see my existence as a longitudinal study geared toward reproducible results. The most desirable of these being happiness – or at least contentment – but ultimately a simple range of predictable outcomes given known stimuli would be a corollary most gratifying. If nothing else, a simple map to aid in navigation would be a great comfort, betimes.

Of course, the human experience-as-laboratory leaves much to be desired for precise interpretation of data or control of variables. It does not necessarily follow that more thorough review of evidence produces more accurate reckoning. The exhaustive and repeated tours of my internal landscape may only serve to inure me to the process of self-discovery; assuring myself the work is underway, rather than weighing outcomes to ensure progress has occurred. Would that I could line myself up using compass and key, and say;

“Now I am this close to self-awareness! What headway I have made! “

Those that claim hindsight is 20/20 are kidding themselves. Nostalgia, wishful thinking, and revisionist tendencies all conspire to blur that past. Recollection and memory cast time into binary relief; everything was harder, dimmer, and less clear or conversely left limned in light and perfected it in ways utterly infeasible. That we can view historical articles with such varying results given our own current locus speaks eloquently to its unsuitability as reliable data.

It is not then science that I do. I do not have instruments of such precision as the plumb bob, tape, or scope. Yet it is nevertheless a process which acknowledges a changing landscape, and replies to tectonic shifts. The atlas of my essence is still being drawn; the cartography of my soul still under survey…