Shadows, Holes, and Silence (Featured Writing Sample From Unit #3)
Shadows, Holes and Silence
by William Hecht
THERE ARE some situations that can only be described by what is missing or absent, some things that are best explained by what they are not. Shadows, for instance, are regions marked by a quantum lack of illumination. Or take holes, spaces amid surrounding matter that imply a vacancy of a specific kind. Then there is silence, so often given physical characteristics for its ability to demonstrate what is not taking place. Other examples abound; Hell is a place of no hope, Heaven, one of no fear. My favorite is apathy, the state of not feeling. Apathy, not hate, someone said, is the opposite of Love.
But the point of this expose’ is to convey my experience. After an entire night so close to you and an entire day too far from you, I know why only the blinded know darkness. I understand how the greatest silences follow churchbells and summer storms, and I am aware that the hole is part of the ring.
There are some situations that can only be described by what is missing or absent, some things that are best explained by what they are not: things like shadows, holes, silence, and the absence of you.
[This piece comes from the title chapter of a novel that I have been working on for ages. That chapter occurs in the short story collection Unit 2 as Share and Share Alike. I do not remember the genesis of this and whether I shamelessly put it into the story because I liked it, or whether the story evoked it because there had to be redemption for the sin of creative attachment.]