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The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 by

The Missing Piece 640

It’s not quite a poem.  Shel Silverstein’s book is more like a fable, but with shapes instead of tortoises or rabbits.  Perhaps you’ve read it at one time or another.  For some reason I’ve missed it all these years and just recently was delighted to come across it.

In the animated version I’ve embedded here, there’s this lovely piano music and it adds to the sense of whimsy and lightness as you watch it unfold—the journey of the missing piece.  Sometimes fables can be heavy but this one doesn’t feel heavy to me.  It has a wonderful lightness and humor and makes me want to read more of Silverstein than I already have.

So much of this story I love—he gets the small moments just right—but I suppose my favorite moment is that moment right smack in the middle when the story shifts.  I read recently that John Gardner once said there are only two kinds of stories: a person goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.  At the midpoint of Silverstein’s story—minute 3:09 in this video—“one came along who looked different.”  It’s like the perfect meeting of both kinds of stories: a person goes on a journey and then a stranger comes along.  At this point the entire story begins to shift.  Something new begins to happen . . .

I think this has something to do with the guest house–we welcome something or someone new–and then something new happens. Maybe . . .

I hope you enjoy!


See also:
Shel Silverstein’s site