You know Schrodinger’s cat, right? Sure you do. Everyone knows Schrodinger’s cat. It’s the thought experiment proposed by Erwin Schrodinger in 1935 to illustrate certain aspects of quantum mechanics. ‘Course it is.
There’s a cat (obvs.). It’s in a sealed box. There’s a lump of radioactive “stuff” (look, I never said I was a scientist), a Geiger counter and some deadly poison. There’s a 50/50 chance that the radioactive stuff will set off the Geiger counter which in turn will release the poison and kill Tiddles.
So is the cat alive or dead? According to Schrodinger it’s both alive and dead, at least while the box remains sealed. That’s because the quantum universe is full of infinite possibilities.
It’s only when you open the box and see for yourself that the various possibles collapse into one, actual reality. Or something. I failed A level physics so what the fuck do I know?
Anyway, I’ve started to see a practical example of this. It’s whenever I think there’s a possibility, however slim, of getting a publishing deal with my writing. I hold my breath, willing the cat to be alive. I try not to think about it too much, holding onto the thought that all the while I don’t know, there is a version of reality where it really does happen. Where the thing I so desperately want (probably more than is healthy) comes to pass.
I try in vain not to talk about it. Because talking about it only increases the chance of the Geiger counter going off. And then – pooof – the cat will be on its way to pussy heaven (if there is such a place) and I’ll be back where I started. One of millions of would-be writers. With a dead cat on his hands.
And right now, that’s where I am. There’s someone at a publishing company who has a submission of Featherfall. Possibly on their desk. Or in their bag. The possibilities are all there. They could be thinking, “This is amazing stuff. The world needs this man’s writing. I will not rest until he is signed up.” They could. Because the box is still sealed and the cat is still in there, licking its own privy parts contentedly.
But sooner or later it has to be opened. And then I’ll know.The cat will be out of the box. Bag. Whatever. I never said it was a good analogy.