story + science = my spirituality

Hi! I’m Ali. 

By day, I work in research communications, which feeds the part of me that’s passionate about science and the people behind it. By night, I read and write like it’s my second job.

In 2022, I completed an MA in Literature at the University of Colorado Boulder. When I started working on my degree, I just wanted to become a better writer. When I finished, I realized that what Martin Shaw writes at the beginning of Courting the Wild Twin is true:

Bad storytellers make spells. Great storytellers break them.

Story has always been how I most productively process life. I collect metaphors like other people collect stamps or seashells. The more I have, the better equipped I feel to engage this complicated reality we all share. Fiction doesn’t enchant the world for me so much as it reveals what’s already enchanted within it. When I’m sleepwalking through my days, a good story will wake me up. Science does the same thing: It opens my eyes. It rewires frayed or dead connections in my mental architecture; it expands my sense of reality. Together, these two realms are my shortcut to the transcendent. 

How do I characterize “the transcendent”? Listen, why do you think I’m so obsessed with collecting metaphors? But all right, if it’ll make you feel better—I consider myself a Christian universalist with a deep well of hope for our evolving world, and a profound respect for the mystic strains of other world religions. I don’t think God’s picky about how God speaks. The real question is: Who’s listening?

why ‘gravity lens’?


A gravitational lens is a mass of matter that’s capable of bending light as it travels toward the observer.

It strikes me that this isn’t terribly different from what happens to metaphorical illumination—truth, wisdom, understanding—when human beings reach for it. Our nature prevents us from perceiving reality perfectly. It bends through us. The observer effect is writ large in me, as in you. Because of this, if I ever mistake what my eyes see for the exact form of the Real, I’m in trouble.

At the same time, that is bona fide light coming at me. Sure, it gets filtered through all my weaknesses and biases and limitations before I manage to form a single thought about it, but there’s beauty even in the incomplete picture it paints through my eyes.  

In fact, that picture occasionally takes my breath away.

Ultimately, that’s all I’m trying to share here.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12, ESV

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s