She sits across the table from me, making a few swift scratching movements with a simple Sharpie pen. But somehow those tiny strokes become rivers—mountains—cities. A delicate curve becomes a cliff-lined shore. A three-dimensional city rises from the paper, its three tiers swirling upward.

“So, I’m thinking I should do the city like this,” she says, pointing with the tip of the pen.

“Yes.” I nod. “But smaller. And farther away. Like…”

I start pointing at the page, she sets the pen to the paper and jots a few notes, and we’re off to a different city, another river, another road. Continue reading “Cartographer”