Sunday, September 11, 2011
I would like to express gratitude to all who provided encouragement and ideas for these stories; many of you had no intention of serving as models or foils. Most of the stories (although not all) are virtually totally fabricated, their plot lines arising from a passing remark, or an indignant comment by a colleague, or some dynamic of departmental politics, or expressions of "collegiality" in meeting rooms or at scientific conventions.
Such stories began to formulate themselves in my mind when it became clear to me that scientists are as irrational in their behavior as any other category of people. This was initially a surprise, and contradicted a rather naïve world-view held until my third decade. There was plenty of evidence to contradict such naiveté before then; I simply hadn't paid attention to it. The stories that will follow on this blog were written long-hand in notebooks, and on pieces of paper, on planes going to or from scientific meetings, during car rides with the family, or during those few other periods of forced inactivity in what was an otherwise extraordinarily busy time of my life, juggling a demanding scientific career and the duties of being Mom to two small children. The typed versions were mindless therapy that occupied many evenings as I wound down from a busy day.
I would like to thank my ex-husband, Michael Smith, for his support of these efforts, which he read and praised, and for his willingness to be ignored during many family outings, although my neglect may have eventually doomed the marriage. My daughter, Briana, later also read and commented on several of the manuscripts.
I would particularly like to thank Marion Hinson, a former secretary in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina, for her unstinting help and support with all of my writing efforts--both scientific and literary--during the time that we shared departmental facilities.
I am also deeply grateful to my parents: to my mother for her encouragement of reading and good literature, and to my father for his encouragement of science and for the commitment to question everything. Without the harmonies and dissonances of such disparate influences, these stories would never have been imagined.
Two of the stories to follow have been published previously. The Cells was a 1986 winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project, and was published in The State Magazine, Columbia, SC. The Gallery was published in The College of Charleston literary magazine, Miscellany, in 1981