Here is Dee's lovely story about making maps.
I moved to London when I was 18, out from the empty east of England. I was used to being able to see everywhere I was going. Buildings over three stories high were new and unsettling. I waited and waited for it to get dark, but it never did. I listened and listened for it to get quiet, but in four years, there was always noise. I got lost a lot. I got overwhelmed. I learnt that it took an hour to get anywhere at all. Two years had to go by for me to realize just how close the tube stations were to each other, and that I could just walk most places. Slowly, I pieced together a pretty good idea of how the city was built, and how to get from a to z without the map. Or at least, without a map in my hand.
When I was a child my dad often had maps everywhere. They were big maps of little places. Places that mostly didn’t exist yet. Or would never exist. He was a builder, and by the time I knew what the drawings meant, he couldn’t be a builder any more because we didn’t have any money. So most of the maps I remember never got turned into anything. The lines, though. The way the plans were drawn up and together. They wound up in my head.
Through my teens, after he’d gone, I started to draw maps of places that didn’t exist. They never really went anywhere, and I didn’t become an architect, or an engineer, or anything like that. But when I started to put London together, it was like using those lines to hang photographs from. I slowly realized that I had made an internal copy of a street here, and a street there. They were imperfect, and simplified, but accurate. I started walking streets just to link them together. The more I worked at it, the better my maps became, and after a year or so I could walk anywhere I knew without leaving the comfort of my flat. The structure of my memory shifted entirely from something associative and instinctive to something designed. I had heard of memory palaces, but it took me a long time to realize that I had put myself inside one.
These days I can walk through large tracts of any ghostly city I’ve ever been in. They’re simple, and have become slightly rotten in places that I don’t revisit. But other places... I can see the dust on the banisters. I can see the rust on the pipes.