Diana Wynne Jones' new book, Enchanted Glass, arrived yesterday. From the jacket: "When Andre Hope's magician grandfather dies, he leaves his house and field-of-care to his grandson..."
I haven't read more than a few chapters, and I'll be writing a real review later. But I just wanted to share how tickled I was to find that Jones and I have both been thinking about the same thing. My own work as an archaeologist is very much concerned with the concept of "fields-of-care," as discussed in the brilliant, and very readable, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience, by Yi-Fu Tuan (1977).
“A house is a relatively simple building. It is a place, however, for many reasons. It provides shelter; its hierarchy of spaces answers social needs; it is a field of care, a repository of memories and dreams" (Tuan: 1977: 164).
It's harder to pin down the memories and dreams held by an archaeological site than it is to dig up the post holes that show where the houses stood. But if you want to tell a story that matters, I think you have to try.
Here's another favorite quote of mine from Tuan that should appeal to writers and readers of fantasy: “Countries have their factual and their mythical geographies. It is not always easy to tell them apart, nor even to say which is more important, because the way people act depends on their comprehension of reality, and that comprehension, since it can never be complete, is necessarily imbued with myths.” (Tuan 1977: 98).
And now I am toying with the idea of the book blogosphere as a field of care, where the lived experiences (aka the blog posts) of the inhabitants change and shape the geographies of the book reading worlds in which they live. An example of such a post is Colleen's recent column on diversity at Book Slut.