• Paul Rutherford


I could see that Holmes was extremely pleased, for he chuckled and rubbed his hands together. "A long shot, Watson; a very long shot!" said he, pinching my arm. "Gregory, let me recommend to your attention this singular epidemic among the sheep. Drive on, coachman!" Colonel Ross still wore an expression which showed the poor opinion which he had formed of my companion's ability, but I saw by the Inspector's face that his attention had been keenly aroused. "You consider that to be important?" he asked. "Exceedingly so." "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?" 'To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." "The dog did nothing in the night-time." "That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes. (from *The Adventure of Silver Blaze* in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes) While Holmes might be an expert in phrenology, tobacco ash and bicycle tyre tracks, the curious incident is his finest moment. How many of us would notice such an absence? We are trained to attend to the substantive, to collect information and to manipulate facts. It’s as easy as ABC123; we start in the nursery and keep going. Yet in our noisy, fact-filled world, where analytical and descriptive powers are applauded and the pursuit of evidence almost fetishistic (CSI Miami anyone?), we all-too-often miss the significance of silence. ‘Empty’ and ‘negative’ are such downbeat terms that they are inevitably associated with failure. But take a look at the logo of Federal Express to see the power of negative space. (Hint: everything you need to know about the company stands between the ‘E’ and the ‘x’).

Coachaiku: 17-syllable reflections, in a 5-7-5 form, for personal and professional development.

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