A better word than hope?

Soon after I began writing my third novel, I realized that it was going to center around the theme of hope. I’d already gone with such lofty themes as peace and joy in my first two novels, so when it came to the big words in life, I felt like I was on a roll. It helped that my protagonist was an aging athlete, and I wanted to him to find the one thing that I’d noticed aging robbed humans of most often.

But hope wasn’t quite the word I meant, any more than peace and joy had been with the first two books. I was trying to talk about refusing to let go of fears and animosity from the past, and refusing to give others a chance based on old experiences. And I was talking about the belief that humans cannot change, that they cannot learn to be, or choose to be, better.

Having already written two stories that took place on opposite sides of the globe, I decided to place this third tale more or less halfway in between. That took to me to the southern reaches of North America; to Belize, Guatemala and Southern Mexico. It also to took me to my own home in Houston. “Hope” looked to be a perfect theme as my research led me to the history of the civilizations and their clashes in this heated part of the globe.

By now, I knew I was doing a rainbow with my books. This was fueled by my love of physics and my fascination with light (or more correctly the electromagnetic spectrum) and I was already planning to give light waves a starring role in this third story. The fact that rainbows had been used over the years to symbolize racial harmony, and LGBT acceptance, was an added plus.

The rainbow thing meant that this book had to be yellow, which was perfect. Yellow is for bright sunshine breaking through on a cloudy day. Yellow is for the first flowers poking through the winter snow. My book was bright yellow for a word that means

the belief that the ills of the past are not an inevitable part of the future, and the knowledge that life can be better, and will be better, if we do our best to make it so.

We do need a word for that.

 

(For more thought on words we need, see A better word than loyalty?, A better word than peace?, A better word than joy? and A better word than courage?)

 

Physics for thought

Click to like George Takei

Click to like George Takei

The hero of z2 is a high school physics teacher, and a man so fascinated by light and energy that he has dreams about talking photons. As he struggles to make his material relevant and even amusing to his largely bored students, he stumbles on truths that will eventually shape his own life.

Can physics be funny? Of course it can, if you let it. And as many recent authors have shown, it can also be inspirational, challenging us to question our basic beliefs as we reach for a fuller understanding of our universe.

click to like Sun Gazing

click to like Sun Gazing

You are light and energy. You are stardust and five billion year old carbon. You are also almost entirely nothing, pure empty space broken up by miniscule flickers of something in all that nothingness; tiny specs that come together in a phenomenal way to create the illusion of being you. You are a miracle.

Thank a physics teacher for conveying that information.