at first it’s one book, trying to understand how the world works. she’d been told this one book would help in her search for knowledge, but all it does is raise further questions. she ruffles the pages, trying to estimate how many hundred more she should drag her heels through before she finishes and knows the world’s workings.
instead, she reads on faithfully until the bibliography. the author has need to thank so many people, she thinks derisively. she copies out every name and book title, every magazine article anyway.
it spirals from here because for every book she reads there are hundreds more waiting in the wings to be thanked, admired, appreciated. so now she begins in earnest (not that the quest was ever not-earnest) and spends her every night with a book. she scratches out charts and diagrams and beats her fingernails broken typing out thousands of pages of notes. the computer desktop fills with dozens of topical files, all full of pdf’s and jpeg’s and doc.x.
the promise isn’t working out though because she still doesn’t get it. she knows that you don’t create a problem to a solution and learns all there is to know about physics, the night sky, how artists might see the world. for a week she wields a paintbrush on canvas and is disappointed when she doesn’t produce a masterpiece.
this may be how things work, but she doesn’t have to adhere to the rule. she wants to understand it all, to be spectacular, to absorb everything the world may offer and give it all back in beauty and love and truth wrapped in a pretty story.
only she can’t because now she’s an artist, not a scientist, not both, and –
she finds that she doesn’t know a damn thing.