Notes on Writing THE SEARCH
Posted Dec 15, 2021
Jane Wagner

Over time, people have asked me where I got the idea for The Search. I never felt I could answer with any clarity until I recently found a misplaced box of notes, containing some of the questions I was asking myself when I first began to write it. Deciphering these notes has been like trying to reverse engineer randomness itself. Some seem strange, as if coming from a galaxy far, far away.

I wanted to write great characters for Lily, but it was hard to know which mix of new emerging culture types would work best with more familiar ones, so our E.T.s could get a sense of the whole of Humanity. I’ve always been a binge thinker, so I had a laundry list of concerns, like poverty, prejudice, the bomb, violence, corruption, and “how can we save our planet if we can’t even save ourselves from ourselves?” What a cosmic catch-22. Humanity’s survival depends on Human Behavior, which is what got us into this fix in the first place.

Years before writing The Search, I had fallen in love with Buckminster Fuller. I read Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” in the New Yorker, and Small Is Beautiful by E. F. Shumacher. So, planetary consciousness had become a link connecting me to larger patterns in life, art, and science.

I had read about Michael Faraday’s series of lectures, “Chemical History of a Candle.” The point of the lectures was “no matter what you look at, you are involved in looking at the entire universe.” This might make some physicists cringe, I admit. I might cringe with them, but I have long been fascinated by the mystical implications of quantum theory—in truth, my dream was to get the audience to experience the universality of the deep interconnectedness of all living things—with Trudy as the guide. I couldn’t bring myself to say, “We’re all one,” but I could have Trudy say, “We all share the same atoms.” I wanted us to flash on just that thought—that we’re all connected.

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