Making good progress through Are Angels OK? Turns out, the title was a question that the writer Bill Manhire asked the scientist Paul Callaghan when they were working on the book. Manhire wanted to know how the scientists would react if the writers took their theories and went off the rails with them. How far out were the writers allowed to be? Where are the boundaries? asked Manhire. “For example, are angels OK?” Callaghan answered: “Angels are just fine.”
(It’s kind of interesting, that conversation, because personally I think scientists have some pretty fucking far out ideas as it is, and I’m really not sure us writers could come up with anything to shock them).
My friend and I play Poetry Ping Pong, which is a writing game where you take turns to choose a topic, and you both write something inspired by that starting point. Our latest topic was epiphanies. Influenced by Are Angels OK, I wanted to write something about the similar “eureka!” moments shared by writers and scientists.
Instead, I ended up writing this poem, which is about failure, more than anything, and the effect of high expectations.
Let me know what you think.