The Empty Copper Sea by John D. MacDonald
|I was leaving bloody footprints on|
their shiny grey vinyl floor.
No, for once, I will let the book do the talking, as despite reservations and embattled enthusiasms, the one thing you can count on in a John D. MacDonald novel is that something will surprise you, something will ring true, and make you realise that all those crazy mixed-up thoughts that spin around in the drum of your brain are felt by someone else. In this case, and because I'm feeling lonesome as it's Christmas and I'm all alone**, this is what captured my attention. Apologies for the wholesale theft of text, but I'm sure it constitutes less than 10% so up yours, Fair Use!
"Travis, I've mentioned to you the second law of thermodynamics."
"That all organised systems tend to slide slowly into chaos and disorder. Energy tends to run down. The universe itself heads inevitably towards darkness and stasis."
"Piogogine altered this concept with his idea of dissipative structures."I'm sure you're with me on this one. I've never felt so connected by someone else's analysis of the spiral of lonelin–– shit, hang on I'm missing a bit.
"He used the analogy of a walled city and an open city. The walled city, isolated from its surroundings, will run down, decay and die. The open city will have an exchange of material and energy with its surroundings and will become larger and more complex, capable of dissipating energy even as it grows. I have been thinking that it would not warp the analogy too badly to extend it to a single individual."
"The walled person versus the open person?"
"The walled person would decline, fade, decay."
"Meyer, dammit, I have a lot more interchange of material and energy with my environment than most."Ugh. Always back to that. Never mind, on we press.
"In a physical sense, but you are not decaying in any physical sense..."
"The decay is emotional?"
"And you are walled, in an emotional sense... You are getting no emotional feedback."
"Where do I go looking for some?"
"That's the catch. You can't. It isn't that mechanical. You merely have to be receptive and hope it comes along."
"Meanwhile, I am being ground down by the second law of thermodynamics?"
"In a sense, yes."
"Thank you so much."Yeah, that sounded a lot better when I was crying into a pint of red wine...
* And poorly executed I might add
** And milking it