Sunday, August 17, 2014


A story may have the right goals established for the main characters, the right setting, even the the time frame, but if chemistry goes missing, the outcome borders on the dismal.  

In this case, dramatic chemistry refers to the dynamic between and among characters, the shimmering presence of motives, agendas, and plans.

You use the term "chemistry" with some regularity, not because you are adept in the more classical relationships between and among the known elements, rather because you are looking for tangible responses as they relate to emotions.

You still cherish one or two memories from your brief exposure to chemistry in that more classical, academic sense, while in high school.  One of these memories came when the Periodic Table of Elements, tacked to a classroom wall, seemed to come to life for you, shining, sputtering, and clanging the way the pinball machine at Miller's Drug Store came to life when your father coaxed it into giving up its most intimate secrets, lights flashing, tiny buzzers humming, individual features doing the equivalent of youngsters in grammar school, waving their hands to alert the teacher to the fact that they knew something relevant to the day's lessons.

The other memory came from your reading of a book about a noted chemist and theoretician, Hans Bethe, in which he spoke of metals, under certain circumstances, changing into other s, with residues of atomic particles.

You spent long moments, trying to absorb how this could happen, trying in essence to understand a thing out of context without knowing with any precision why this mattered to you.

In many ways, you could say the same thing about your early years, say fourteen to twenty, by which time you spent longer moments yet, trying to absorb almost anything about you.  You were growing aware in the most painful of ways how much you were taking for granted, or at the words of others, without any tangible sense of your own how they worked or if, in fact, they existed.

Since those troublesome years, you've given considerable thought to chemistry, looking for and finding connections, particular relationships, evidences of attraction or repulsion.  A good deal of what you consider happiness related to the ability to see chemistry between things that at first seem disparate to you.

In that sense, happiness and story are, to you, matters of chemistry.  Experiencing chemistry through story or experience produces feelings of shimmering, radiant potential, thus happiness to you means an enhanced way of seeing all about you relationships you might have missed.  You are all the happier at this small awareness because of the way it anchors you into enthusiasm.  Thus the transmutation from happiness into enthusiasm, which is in its way self-contained chemistry.

The more you are aware of chemistry and able to note its valences and properties, the greater your chances of seeing who you are on your evening walks or within the paragraphs of your stories.

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