Many years ago when I was an Art student, I would start each piece with a study – a preparatory sketch that served as visual notes used to define and elaborate the finished piece. This habit has followed me into writing, as all my stories begin life in the same manner. I sometimes start with the bones of the idea, which more often than not end up being written on the backs of receipts. I’ll then take these basic elements of the study and turn them into a micro-story and then turn the micro-story into a short and finally expand the short into long form if it needs room to develop and grow.
These preparatory studies are never seen by the general public, although I do sometimes use them in treatments for my screenplays and pitches which are sent to private parties. Dark Matter is my first deviation from this general principle. It is a study for a long-form work, tentatively titled “Basic Nuclear Physics – How to Trigger the Apocalypse While Doing Nothing Special.” I’d had a completely different title in mind, but it seems to have been trademarked by a particularly aggressive house, so I’ll come up with a working title later.
Dark Matter is the short form of this piece of apocalyptic fiction. It explores what happens when a series of bad days accumulate sufficient negative energy in one unlikely candidate to trigger the apocalypse under the right set of coincidental circumstances. Current Nuclear Physics theories don’t explore the energy tied up in the spirit or life force of a person and I wanted to explore the fact that the negative and positive energy we deal with every day in our simple, mundane interactions have a profound effect on the world around us. Moreover, each of us is a source of energy, but our energy is largely ignored by science and remains unexplored.
What kind of energy are you putting out into the world? Do you think your simple actions, both negative and positive, affect the world around you? Could the effect of these actions be even greater than you could possibly imagine? Can you save the world with a small kindness (and without having to don lycra)?
Can the mundane be apocalyptic?