Wednesday, July 3, 2019


     Shadowy distortions fall across the page. Some are pronounced, like those cast by my left hand as I write. Others are more diffracted, like the translucent shadow from my water bottle, or those filtering through trees before reaching my notepad.

    Words are that way. We must look beyond the reflections to dig out true meaning. Some words are sharp and defined while others are murky and deceptive.

    My writing is like that by design. Let the reader fill in some of the blanks using their own life experiences but don’t overdo it. Readers want to be presented with a story rather than write it themselves. The meaning of my words can vary from person to person. Obscurity can bring out a childhood memory; they may wonder “where did that thought come from?” and then it becomes clear. Merge between darkness and light by stepping over a distinct line, like the sharp edges of my hand’s shadow. The reader’s experience can range from happiness to old memories that cause despair, and anything in between.

    Peeking around a sharp-edged wall of shadow and looking outward, the world seems much brighter but less defined. What can be more uniform and steady than darkness? You can’t see what surrounds you. Your eyes adjust, but shadows loom that are impossible to see through. Sounds hidden during the day present themselves after nighttime settles in. Perhaps this is the greatest fear. Instead of stumbling among familiarity you must deal with unfamiliar nocturnal creatures of the night. Daytime birds retreat and other creatures emerge. A stranger who hides in darkness is not the same person lurking about in daytime shadows.

    A new world emerges. Familiar ground becomes fresh again. And I like to use this realm of the unknown in my writing.  It’s obviously fiction, but close enough to reality to make one pause.


  1. Apparently this is a bit over my head :) I more look at daylight or lights on at night as a feeling of security because if we can see it we can react to it in our best interests. Shadows don't obscure the view (we can see through them), only corners do that. Darkness creates a feeling of caution or fear, in that the various degrees of dark do a better job of obscuring what may be around us. We see shadows, hear sounds, smell fragrances; and if they are not familiar, we tend to panic or at least become cautious. I suppose writing is that way. We can flat out put everything on the table, or tease, use half-truths, or hide; all which if done well, works. Darkness, daylight, in-between - I suppose I dabble in all of them at one time or another. You have me thinking.

  2. Excellent thoughts. I think of shadows as fragmenting (in our minds) what is actually there, but in varying degrees based on the luminosity and even the contrast between light and shadows. I like to bend reality in my writing and there is so much room to play with here. Like a reflection in front of you in a window, of a structure behind you. It's distorted if reflected on old hand cut lead glass, but if you turn around the view changes and the lines become straight again. It's how we see things from our perspective sometimes.