Friday, 29 November 2019

A Guest Post About Nothing: Kim Bannerman

On 29th November, we’re having a belated birthday party for Nothing, an anthology of short stories I edited for Hic Dragones (writing as Hannah Kate). In the run-up to our not-quite-a-launch party, I’ve invited some of the authors whose work is included in the book to tell me a bit about their story.

Today’s guest is Kim Bannerman, author of ‘Nobody’, one of the stories in Nothing.

Nothing & Something (But Not Everything)

There is no greater tragedy than losing oneself in love.

Imagine, if you will, two sparks of light coming together in the universe. Maybe they’ll combine and grow together into a flame, but what if they don’t? What if one consumes the other, until all we see is the light of the stronger fire? Does the weaker spark simply vanish, eclipsed by their combination? Does it wither into nothing?

When two people meet, they might balance each other and make each other greater than before, but there’s a risk, too, that one life might eclipse the other. No one wants to wither into nothing.

And yet, the concept of nothing has a kind of power of its own.

‘Nothing’ gives ‘something’ form. Without nothing, there would be no way to measure the volume, the shape, the size, the texture of the items that stand in its opposition. There has never been a time when there was not nothing, because there must be things to recognize something for nothing to be, and we are here, providing the universe with our minds to contemplate both the notion of nothing and the notion of time. Our nature of being means that the concept of nothing exists.

There doesn’t necessarily have to be everything, though. You can hold a piece of something in your hand without holding the whole. So while nothing is critical to the existence of something, something doesn't necessarily need everything. We are more capable of visualizing the concept of all than the concept of none, and yet some does not require all in the same manner that all requires none to define its form and function.

Perhaps nothing can be visualized as the state of not-being. A difficult concept to comprehend, it’s true, as we’re all very comfortable in our state of being. But who were we before we were born? Do you possess memories of your interactions with the universe before you gained a corporeal form? If not, was this a state of non-being? Does a contemplation of our experiences before we had the senses to experience allow us insight into our brush with nothingness?

If nothing was here to experience something, then the idea of nothing would not exist. Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Perhaps love is like nothing, too. You can’t experience the feeling of losing love without once possessing love and giving love. The absence of love is only made possible by the existence of love.

And even when love changes us, the act of connection helps to define us, for better or worse.

Kim Bannerman lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, where she writes short stories, novels and screenplays. Her novels include the cosmic-horror-romance Love and Lovecraft (2018), the werewolf tale The Tattooed Wolf (2014), and the historical murder mystery Bucket of Blood (2011)). She’s also host of the weekly podcast, Northwest By Night.

The Belated Birthday Party for Nothing is on Friday 29th November, 7pm, at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Cambridge Street, Manchester. It’s a free event, with readers from the authors and launch party discount on the books. For more information, or to book a ticket, please click here.

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