Justin Wolfe


The Memory Map: Is it Possible to Chart All the Territory in the World?

From our winter issue, GOOD 025: The Next Big Thing

I’m in the street outside the house where we lived when I was 12 years old, but I’m also sitting on the fourth floor of my university library. The house is one in a line of near-identical two-story structures set on small, sloping lots; you can tell them apart by slight gradations in siding and shutter color, by how many cars the garages hold. Our house is grayish beige with dark-green shutters, a closed single-car garage, and an empty driveway with a sharp slope. It’s nice to be here again, to go back and remember how things used to be. It’s sometime during the afternoon because the house and the stand of trees spread behind it cast shadows that darken parts of the yard, but it’s summer, I think, it must be summer; the sun above me is a squeezed orange leaking light on the mown lawns arrayed around the court and so there’s still plenty of day left for playing, there has to be. I turn around in a full circle, though, and there are no kids outside, no people at all, just the houses and yards and parked cars.

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