My writing teachers have always told me to write what I know (in what’s called a writing laboratory).
Right now, this is what I know:
- For a long time I worked in a laboratory (another kind of lab than one that experiments with words).
- Sometimes I rode my unicycle in the hallway that ringed the lab.
- Many days there was no work to do, other than build cabinets that we bought at Ikea … aka preparation for science.
- I worked with people who stand out in my mind now as people worthy of a story.
But not everyone can transcribe life into words accurately. This is a true skill … but sadly one which I have never possessed.
As I write about my past life (not in another lifetime, but past in the sense that it is before this moment), along the way, something changes.
The people that I knew intimately–the ones I worked with day in and day out for years–morph into creatures only vaguely familiar.
Vaguely familiar … but alive with possibilities.
Someday I will write my memoirs (I vow this to myself even as I get lost in the twisted reality of my past).
However, as prophylaxis against lawsuits and venomous daytime talk show hosts, I intend to tag the front cover of the book with this label.
A Memoir … Loosely Based on Reality
In the meantime, here is a piece of my past, but only just a piece (more like flash fiction). Like a slice of apple pie, though, it’s only a sample, an offering of warmth and peace and bizarre tastiness. At some point, I will bake the rest of the pie … don’t worry, you can always insert this piece back into the puzzle.
And We All Danced in the Laboratory Sometimes
As the newest member of the family assigned by my father-in-law to his university’s molecular biology laboratory run by his wild-haired mentor, I was overwhelmed by the sheer inanity of many of the tasks.
The aging doctor and his Eastern European lieutenant oversaw the research with surprising disregard for intelligible results.
At each morning’s meeting the doctor or the Czech (anyone who calls to mind the Marx Brothers’ movie Duck Soup should be readily forgiven) regaled us with stories of:
- books recently read, or
- the magical possibilities of wondrous computers, or
- ways to make traditional goulash in the lab’s sterilizing equipment.
Flash Fiction: And We All Danced in the Laboratory Sometimes © 2014 by Shawn Radcliffe
- Working in a Laboratory: Nina Briski on stock.xchng
- Psychedelic Laboratory Face: Kriss Szkurlatowski on stock.xchng