While slopping up superbly done over-medium eggs with my “Park Potatoes” this past Saturday morning at the Park Cafe with a friend, I was enlightened to the nature of publishing a scientific study. Low and behold, it is much the same as publishing anything else.
My scientist friend described his writing process of identifying and connecting the reader with the provocative and overarching question that his paper would address and then the challenge of infusing the professional paper with the tension that is present in the research. As I sank my teeth into what can only be called the steak of the bacon-world, I nodded my head in recognition that this is exactly what every writer indeed has to do in order to be published.
Now I do not envy my friend and all the attention he must give to facts and measurements and reality and all the baffling bits of science that I am sure he enjoys, when all I have to do is fabricate wonderful truths that are in actuality complete lies that stand up to peer review better than the actual truth ever could. (But hey, it doesn’t involve any math.) And so both of us, I suppose, go to work every day and observe behaviors and do research and find the deeper questions, mine the depths of tension in the potential answers and try to package it all in a way that begs to be read like beautiful story, academic or not.