I’m a school librarian, so I try to pay attention to what my students enjoy reading, and do everything I can to get more of it. My intermediate students can’t get enough of unsolved mysteries. It’s hard to keep books about UFOs, cryptids, mysterious places, and all things supernatural available on the bookshelf- they’re usually all checked out.
While my fiction section is replete with volumes about magic, fairies, and dragons, there isn’t much available about metaphysical mysteries. My school is transitioning to a S.T.E.M. magnet school, where Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math will be front and center.
I’m a theoretical physics buff, so I’ve made a concentrated effort to add books about physics to our circulation, but most kids, especially those who aren’t intrigued by the sciences tend to gravitate (get it?) to the Fiction sections.
In 2005, I wrote a long thesis about the quantum mechanics of prayer, in response to my curiosity and study of the phenomenon of crop circles. That’s a superstring reference. This essay was a nonfiction exploration of the metaphysics of prayer and faith. It was way above the heads of most of my Intermediate students. But I had a few students who would make excuses to visit the library during class time to pursue discussions of metaphysics. So, after about a year of having a loosely formed novel about the physics of crop circles filling up my head, I decided to start putting it on paper. Within weeks it had practically written itself.
I used a setting familiar to me- my in-laws farm, and wove in characters with curiosity who find a mystery literally show up on their land overnight. I published it on Atavist (because I could do it for free) and provided the URL to my students. I loved hearing them say, “You wrote a book?!”
I’d answer, “Yes! And you can read it for free, here!”
When some of the students, especially the reluctant readers, showed their hesitation, I would assure them that it was a short book and it was about an unsolved mystery. That’s when they would snatch up the URL slip.
I love my job.
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