Story Is Alchemy

The unbearable lightness of writing

My first introduction to the term “alchemy” came in an illustrated children’s book about the scientific process. The illustration showed a bunch of fancifully dressed bearded men, some with amulets and bones hanging from their beards, bent over a worktable covered in ramshackle equipment. The book explained that alchemy had been a medieval scientific worldview focused on making gold from lead. It sounded nuts, and these guys looked nuts. I didn’t know of anyone turning lead into gold, so it seemed that this pseudoscience had been thoroughly…