When you look at a mathematical fractal, you see self-similarity; not only do different parts of the figure look almost alike, it looks the same as you zoom in and out of it, its form governed by the parameters of the iterative algorithm that generates it. Can narratives similarly iterate by filling time rather than space, recapitulating condensed or expanded versions of events and examples of themes?
Think of a snowflake forming around a molecule of water clinging to a tiny particle of something, how it blossoms and diverges as other molecules join in, seeking their hexagonal destiny, becoming a perfect thing of beauty. Then think of it melting, its sharp edges blurring, its interstices blotting out until it plops to earth. That’s a story, right there, in full surround. Matter, space and time at play.
Today, I am reveling, writing in Edith Wharton’s house, The Mount. It’s quiet. I am sitting at a small table in front of a window in the room on the third floor that was Henry James’ bedroom. I knew I wanted to write from an early age but lacked the courage to pursue my dream. I was a born reader but that didn’t mean I could write. It’s not that easy.