Creative Writing and The Periodic Table


A few days ago one of my writing apprentices shared an idea, “am going to write a story using all the letters on the periodic table.”

What in the world? After a lesson focusing on the garden—tilling earth, planting seeds, and harvesting fruit—the periodic table of the elements? But in the end, I realized that the idea has everything to do with the garden.

Our science Exploration workshops are focusing in on chemistry. We explored The Periodic Kingdomand “journeyed through the land of chemical elements” with P.W. Atkins. We watched the periodic table. Yes, watched. This was mad science in action. Chemists from the University of Nottingham have created a short video about each of the 118 elements. Stoichiometry, polarity, and biochemistry entered our discussion, and we concocted reactions in our little make-shift lab, extracted DNA from a variety of sources. But our explorations of the table itself was most amazing. And where was this apprentice? The little hovering bird was gathering seeds, of course.

So this morning, the day began with me sipping e a cup of tea observing the writing workshop in progress. To my delight I saw our this particular apprentice hovering over an open book from the chemistry workshop: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe, busily engaged with his writer’s toolkit—pen, paper, dictionary.

This young man had an idea and was brave enough to engage his important work.

Thanks Leonardo.


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