Challenging myself
to write a story

Some years back, I challenged myself to write a story. To commit to creating something that might entertain and engage and even entice my readers, to enter a mysterious world where nothing was as it seems, and quite possibly, nothing will be the same after you’ve left. 

More so, if you’re invited to witness how… 

                                              …Infinity collides with Immortality

Chronicles of Time is a theological thriller set in modern times. The story setting is Geneva, in CERN, and centers on a physicist who is confronted with the appearance of a powerful religious image that unleashes a chain of events of existential proportions. The sudden and near-miraculous appearance of the iconic Turin Shroud signals the onset of dramatic consequences. The image represents a summons, an invitation to one man (Professor. Fletcher Du Pont) to undergo a time shift and experience the full consequences of an intersection between the world of physics and meta-physics and the afterlife. The family and his scientific leadership are drawn deeper into the crisis when confronted with his physical alteration while in a coma. Equally, his brother-in-law, a devout Jesuit, is the first to identify a more profound influence at work, and the revelations that follow.

Two parallel stories open up., One where our hero experiences a duality of existences, one set in 29 AD, and one as a terminally ill patient in modern times. One – is where biblical secrets of historical dimensions are revealed and where alternate aspects of Time itself unfold. The other is where religious and scientific close associates struggle to understand the true nature of the crisis. Only, in the end, is the full significance of the Shroud fully revealed and its impact on, of all things, Nuclear weapons, and their future use.    

The essence of this story relates to one man’s beliefs, that Science and only science will reign over all truths; and that all religions are myths. In Chronicles of Time, one of these tenants becomes dismantled, while the other, consumes him. 

Me – As a Writer.

As Irish people, we’re innately drawn to storytelling. As a Statistician, I am trained to tell stories with data. We talk about separating Signal from Noise in large datasets. Which voice are we seeking? My love of writing is the expression of words into a narrative that informs or engages my readers with the topic at hand. Take Science for example, add a little theology, and…well, the makings of something engaging, the clash of opposing doctrines and beliefs.

I loved the idea of physics – particularly particle physics which seeks to reconcile quite bizarre issues that exist in the sub-atomic world, that somehow don’t impact our scale of physical existence. We can prove; at least at the theoretical level, the existence of 11 hidden dimensions, yet we experience only 4 in reality. Three dimensions of space- and one dimension of Time. One of the most unsolved conundrums of our times. No one understands why that is. Two perverse issues- one, a highly probabilistic universe, the other, a deterministic one- and never the twain shall meet.

Then there is our spiritual makeup. That other level, where monks and spiritual leaders talk of the submersion of the spirit and remind us that; we are all spiritual beings experiencing a physical existence. Yet, no physics defines the existence of a soul.

So, this becomes an interesting challenge in fiction writing, to craft a story where a devoted physicist, a man who kneels at the altar of scientific logic and dogma finds himself confronted by even greater truths, and, from a source, he hardly believed existed.  

Why is storytelling so captivating?

Well, it has to do with curiosity. An appetite to experience facets of events that shape our understanding of the tapestry of life itself. Sometimes it’s a morbid attraction to other people’s misfortunes or horrors, other times it’s the sheer thrill of a good adventure story.  

Stories take us to other places, to the depths of terror while remaining in the safety of an armchair, or to romantic interludes, or forbidden secrets. The observer, seeing all, is drawn into places populated by strange characters, cruel, or unbelievably lovable ones, we connect with.

All of these elements do something to us. They ignite the most powerful of all human traits, our imagination. That potent powerhouse; the nursery; where all creative ideas are born and flourish if we allow it. Storytelling becomes one of the most potent delivery mechanisms to communicate with other human beings. Compelling narratives, and believable characters caught up in strange worlds that endear, captivate, enthral and often chill us to the core, are all that make us hostage to a good story. That’s why it’s called fiction.

There is also the power of competing ideas that define some of our characters. Their flaws intrigue us. Villains with revolting tendencies to inflict great cruelty and carry out unspeakable acts of inhumanity, to the heroes who carryout out great acts of heroism, and make superhuman acts of courage and nobility. Plots that pit a weak and timid character against insurmountable circumstances where overwhelming forces work to crush him, and yet they somehow struggle to achieve the impossible, while the process evokes our sense of right and wrong. Storytelling challenges all of those values within us. It’s not only a journey of the mind; it’s an excursion through our emotional makeup.

Showing 12 comments
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