If you like tales of people attempting to construct cosmologies that allow them to process grief and guilt, then whoa baby, do I have a story for you. In other words, The Coachella Review has published my story, “At the Speed of Light.”
This started out as the final story for my undergraduate creative writing thesis at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It evolved and focused through my MFA at New Hampshire, and finally found it’s home. This is also the first solicited work I’ve published, which was a nice process to go through. Many thanks to Coachella‘s fiction editor, Chih Wang, for her help bringing this story to publication.
I’m a model agnostic of the Copenhagen Interpretation when it comes to most things. But when people I care about have passed, both in my life and merely those few public figures who influence me, there is one pleasant model in which I choose to indulge.
I choose to believe in a great nothing from which we come and to which we return. It stands outside of manifest creation; it is timeless and formless; a pool of pure potential from which our souls emanate and to which our souls return after our journey to Earth. These formalities of actually happening we call our lives.
Like the hero’s journey, the divine bit of us must manifest in a body, go out into the dark unknown of life, learn our lessons, capture the great boon, and return these gifts back to the nothing from which we came.
“Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.” ~ Oliver Sacks
When those I love must leave, I prefer to think of them as having returned home. And all of their warmth and love and intelligence and all the good they represented to me in this life, all of that has been reunited with the greatness that spawns the world.
So when people like Oliver Sacks pass on, I get to believe that his genius is hereon written into the fabric of the universe, that everything that comes will have the DNA of his soul woven through it.
It’s only a single model of the universe and the place of our lives in it, but it’s a comforting one that allows me to see everyone who has been lost to continue living.