Love Among the Particles
Bellevue Literary Press
Norman Lock
Love Among the Particles
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“Love Among the Particles” is from Norman Lock’s new collection of the same title (Bellevue Literary Press).  Lock has written novels, short fiction, poetry, and stage plays.  His plays have been produced in the U.S., Germany, at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, and in Turkey.  His work has been translated into Dutch, German, Spanish, Turkish, and Japanese.

 

He received the Aga Kahn Prize, given by The Paris Review, the Literary Fiction Prize, given by The Dactyl Foundation of the Arts & Humanities, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Lock said this about how he came to write his story:  I happened on the fantastic notion that someone might be reduced by cosmic accident to a swarm of sentient particles, while writing Impossible Objects, a chapbook of prose miniatures (Ravenna Press, 2013).  In that ninety-nine-word intimation of the story “Love Among the Particles,” the victim’s dispersed data are harvested by a digital camera, then assembled into a two-dimensional photograph.

 

The story developed in my subconscious, whose contribution to my writing I have always credited, until its first sentence was revealed to me in the same way that light-sensitive paper gives up its concealed image in the old-fashioned developer bath.  Much of my work for the printed page and for stage and radio begins with the gift of a first sentence, enlarged by a vivid image or, at least, suffused by an atmosphere.  It remains for me to render it exactly while being alert to what my subconscious proposes for the next link in a chain whose inevitability is apparent when the last link is forged.

 

In “Love Among the Particles,” I knew at once that the protagonist, who might as well be I, would exploit his new status (a being at the outermost limits of freedom) to travel in space and also in time.  What I did not know until I was well into the text was that I was writing a commentary on and a lament for a human being brought to extremes of loneliness and estrangement by the Digital Age.  It is the sadness of this universal theme that lifts the story beyond a comic romp (it is this, too) into fable, with application – meaning – for us all.

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