Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

There is such a thing as a tesseract.

"…by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."

One
of my favorite bits of writing ever. One of those singular turns of
phrase that has stuck in my mind for decades, even as I lose track of
the plot points and character details of the book it’s from. This one’s
from "A Wrinkle in Time," of course, which I’m flipping through because Madeline L’Engle has died.

My wife and I have four cats. The first was already named when we
adopted her. When we took in a gray stray kitten, we named him Charles
Wallace. And "A Wrinkle in Time" was one of the first chapter books I
read out loud to my daughter.

"…there is
such a thing as a tesseract." I read this for the first time when I was
in fourth grade. It comes not far into the first chapter of "A Wrinkle
in Time," and the story’s already got a good hook at this point, what
with the introduction of six-year-old telepath Charles Wallace and his
math-smart/life-clumsy sister Meg and their brilliant scientist mom and
a mysterious stranger arriving on "a dark and stormy night," but man,
oh MAN, with that single sentence, the book and its world just seem to
open up like a Twilight Zone door floating in space.

I’ve
realized over the years that most of my favorite books and stories are
those in which fantastic occurrences happen in the real world with
little or no explanation: They simply ARE. "Shoeless Joe," for instance
– baseball ghosts in a cornfield. Why are they there? How’d they get
there? Where do they go? Doesn’t matter – they just ARE. Bradbury’s
Martian time-crosses and midwest phantoms and King’s haunted hotels and
Murakami’s mind-bending wonderlands and L’Engle’s billion-year-old
witches and disembodied brains.

It’s a big world. Weird stuff happens.

Which is why I will always believe in tesseracts.

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September 9, 2007 - Posted by | Books, Current Affairs, Fiction, Science

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