physics

the double singularity

To the order
of things
he was
a quirk,
a kink
in the quantum
bending
the universe back
upon itself
like cosmic origami
that duplicated
his solitude
and doubled
his loneliness
in one
overlapping
point
of inescapable
chaos.

It felt
at times
as if
there might be
two of him,
and yet
none
of him
at all.

He was
what one might call
a “double singularity”
if one
had an
eye
for string theory
and a yen
for verbal
irony.

So
imagine then
how jarring,
how daunting
it was
for him
when he felt
the matter
of his being
tremble
from a
great
distance;
vibrate
with immodest
recognition
of a kindred;
resonate
with grand
and miniscule
magic
as the underlying
arrangement
of all-being
received
his solitude
and returned it
to him
as
belonging.

Imagine
the
incalculable
intimacy
of finding
a parallel
detachment,
the infinite
dilation
in the discovery
of a corresponding
isolation,
the interminable
sense of wonder
that arrived
as he
witnessed
his own universe
expanding
by a magnitude
of
one.

Of course,
she felt it
too
as hers
did the same.

She was
as much
a quirk
as he,
creased down
the center
in her
seclusion,
forced
to face
herself
at all
times.
She was,
indeed,
something
of a second
double
singularity,
as if
the universe
believed
that one alone
simply wouldn’t
be
enough.

And in one
negligible
moment
during which
she unfolded
and finally looked
beyond
her own
expiring
oblivion,
she saw
him
instead,
at the
exact same
negligible moment
that he
saw her.
He said
something
along the lines of
“You have
delicate
ears,
and I
like
that.”
It was
practically
nothing,
and yet to them
it was
the width
and breadth
and depth
of
entirely
everything.
From this
iota
of dual awareness,
this speck
of simultaneous
acknowledgment,
there exploded
another universe,
one
in which
irony was forbidden,
solitude was abolished,
and the idea
of singularity
had never
occurred.

copyright © 2016 steven luna

armchair physicist

In spite of being fascinated by the subject matter, I know very little about physics overall. Things move; things fall down. Things catch fire. Motion and gravity and heat: that’s about the extent of it…and I think that third one might actually be chemistry.

Why, then, would I choose to feature physics so prominently in the novel I’m writing?

I didn’t do it on purpose. It just sort of happened.

The new work in question is the story of a contemporary magician, a sleight-of-hand illusionist who, as it turns out, has honest-to-goodness magic in those hands. It fluctuates depending on his emotional state; it evolves with him as he grows from an awkward boy largely ignored by everyone around him, to a quiet, slightly more confident young man who learns to use his power to draw favorable attention from others. And it disappears altogether when he loses his one true happiness in life. So he goes on something of a quest to learn from the masters how to get it all back. It’s a fun write so far.

Hopefully it’ll end up an equally fun read.

 

Image

This is your hand on magic. Any questions?

By and large, what I’m discovering as I write—which everyone who writes about magic maybe knows already—is that magic is the manipulation of the physics of things: things that disappear and reappear; things that move from here to there, with no visible means of motion; things that shouldn’t levitate but do, and things that suddenly exist where they hadn’t before, with no discernible cause.

Things that readily transform from one shape into another and back again.

A lot of this sounds like personality to me. Feelings that come and go without warning; emotions that rise and fall at a moment’s notice without those who experience them realizing why such a thing is happening. Moods that shift and alter and turn from this to that, without immediately notable cause or readily discernable stimulus.

Pretty similar.

It occurred to me after all this unqualified consideration that the physics of feeling are really the physics of magic. That the possibility of a human being altering the physical world around them arises first from an equivalent alteration in their state of emotion. Happiness that begets creation through acts of kindness; anger that begets destruction through acts of violence.

In essence, we end up being our own magic. And each other’s too.

That’s powerful stuff to think about.

And so, my magician is very much grounded in reality. He doesn’t dwell among dragons or wizards or other supernatural entities; he wasn’t born of the gods, and he hasn’t come back from the dead. He lives in a contemporary world. He grows up with a single mom who has other things to tend to; he goes to college and fumbles around figuring out what he wants to do with his life. He’s shy around girls, even when they seem to like him. And in his efforts to please people, he ends up changing himself and things around him in ways he doesn’t intend. His magic is quiet and common and simply a method by which he deals with the world to better understand who he is, even as the world resists understanding him. Even with magic, it isn’t an easy road for him; he makes all kinds of mistakes that end up setting him back about ten steps every time. But none of the interesting ones to write about have it smooth all the way through. I thought this one deserved a fable made of sweetly absurd magical realism. So I’m telling his story, on his terms, using the language of physics and feelings and magic.

Sleight of Handelman is the title.

Working tag line: Eat. Pray. Saw a woman in half.

That’ll probably change, depending on the mood I’m in by the time I finish writing it.

See?

Poof!

Magic.

 

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