Here's an excerpt from my book.
Molly is an electrochemist who has invented a bionic leaf (based on some real inventions out there I was excited to promote.)
If you like, follow this up with a fall color drive with my husband's original music.
"But you don’t seem happy about your thesis so far.”
“I’m not.” Molly spoke quietly while staring down at her hands in her lap. “I mean, I got all the data I need. It’s just not data that I like. I keep applying for state grants, to get a little more funding to run more tests…”
“Kind of like a lottery, huh?”
Molly shoulders sagged and she pressed her lips together. “Marty’s probably right. I should stick to my disappointing results instead of trying to get funding to produce even more disappointing results.” She snickered softly. “Reporting negative results is important. Not enough researchers do it. It’s just not very glamorous. It’s depressing. And it’s important.”
“You’re saving some other scientist from wasting time and resources going down the same road. That sounds important.” But even as Sue spoke, she knew it wasn’t enough. As long as she had known her, Molly had always wanted to make a serious difference in climate change. But Molly’s invention had run into some serious technical obstacles. It now seemed permanently stalled.
“Batteries are my life. I see batteries everywhere, now,” Molly swept her hand out to the lake. “Like, any change in pressure or concentration, there’s potential energy, stored, that we could use. You could use the depth of the water pressure to create a battery right here in the lake, for example. Or temperature differentials. Cells use unequal distributions of molecules on either side of a membrane to store energy. Batteries are everywhere.”
“Batteries everywhere?” Sue felt herself smile at the thought. “Sounds like a world full of potential.”
“Ooh, good one.” Molly smirked at her before a bemused-looking smile spread across her face. “You know, it’s funny.”
“Oh, sometimes as the season progresses, I imagine all the colors growing sharper and more defined, the borders crisper and crisper. With a steep concentration gradient in the fall, with red leaves contrasting sharply with blue sky and all. It’s like nature makes a color battery every fall.”
“A color battery,” Sue repeated. “Cool.”
“Then it diffuses every winter into nothing but white everywhere. Even the sky is white.”
“It’s easier to see batteries in nature everywhere than to make your own.”
Sue recognized the bitterness tightening her friend's voice. “But you got real close, right?”
Molly was quiet for a moment before she nodded slowly. “I did. My little bugs will suck up carbon dioxide and turn it into fuel for a minute. Then, they all die. But thanks for reminding me. I just have to keep telling myself that it works briefly, at least.”
Sue rose and shouldered her purse. “I should probably go. I’ll let you know after the book signing tomorrow how we can get together with Mark. And if you see that library guy...”
Molly shook her head as she stood. “I can’t.” She placed her hands on either side of her head and bent from side to side, stretching slowly. “I can’t.”
“Well.” Sue hesitated.
“Okay.” Abruptly, the petite form of Molly embraced her firmly, as if she was trying to stifle her from saying anything further on the topic. “See you soon.”
Sue bustled to the parking area and got into her van. As she threw the gear into reverse, she twisted in her seat to see the small form of Molly jogging across the street to the library entrance, keys in hand.
She lowered her window and shouted. “Molly!”
“Try and keep an open mind!”
Molly shook her head slowly, emphatically.
But as Sue drove off, she could see that Molly was grinning.
© 2022 Holly Phaneuf Erskine. All Rights Reserved.