I have been considering renewing my interest in writing. The tendency to read and write a lot has always been there, but my practice of writing ebbs and flows. I just finished a book by Stephen King called_On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft_, which has been an inspiration.
There is the question of what type of writing. I tend toward natural science, and of I have a doctoral degree in Vision Science which gives me more of a solid background than most. I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy, among other genres, but I’m not sure I’d be good at writing it myself.
True natural science can be a lot like science fiction and fantasy. I have a Ph.D. in Vision Science but I am not sure I come close to understanding how vision really works. I could describe to you some of the components of vision, say the anatomy of the retina, and we all agree that the retina is essential for normal vision. Disease processes such as age-related macular degeneration can disrupt the retina causing visual impairment. But vision does not occur in the retina. What we think of as vision begins at the retina and undergoes layers of visual processing resulting in what we think of as vision. There is a lot to delve into here including how our psychology affects vision and the ever popular phenomena of optical illusions.
Here’s another interesting aspect. The light from relatively close star Vega (Alpha Lyrae) left the star 25.5 light years ago. The actual photons that come in contact with your retina originated at a very different time in your life, or if you are young, from before you were born. The light from the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is 152,000 light years away. When the light left the Andromeda galaxy human beings like ourselves were relatively new to the Earth. Almost all of human history, known and unknown, has occurred during the time the light has traveled to your retina. I feel blessed to receive such a rare gift.