For Saturday, December 5, 2015:
“Writing is a struggle against silence.”
Does anyone else feel this way? My struggle is that there is not enough silence in which to write.
After a long, long day yesterday of 200 miles of driving, sitting and walking and waiting for hours, the controlled frenzy of a teaching hospital and patients, visitors, and medical teams streaming in and out, I was so hoping for a quiet morning to recharge my batteries.
But it’s Saturday now, and I should’ve known better. Saturdays in this neighborhood are for visitors and errands and leaf blowers, chainsaws and circular saws and barking dogs (inside and outside) and revving cars and trucks and booming sub-woofers and children yelling and crying.
I need silence to write. Or at least, the quieter the better, with few or no distractions, sometimes not even soft music. I’m getting some better. It depends on what I’m writing – blog posts, for instance, are easier than fiction or poetry – but just as I’ve had to learn to live in a noisy, distracting, frenzied world, I’ve had to try to learn how to write in and shut out that world.
There are people who can’t stand to live within their own silence. (Think of those who get uncomfortable and antsy when called upon for a moment or two of quiet.) There are others whose brains never shut off and are always noisy, always talking.
There’s nothing to fear in or about silence. It’s not malevolent, it doesn’t mask thoughts or feelings. But perhaps that’s why so many people seem to crave noise and activity – such things cover up what’s going on inside us. I can’t prove it, but I suspect that’s one reason people nowadays are so attached to their electronic devices, or they have to have the TV on all the time: they feel they have to cover up their own inner workings, feelings, thoughts, with noise and distractions.
So I struggle every day to find enough silence in which to write. If I can’t, I have learned not to fight it – that makes things worse, I’ve found. I just do the best I can, and every now and then a few words find their way through the external noises.
It isn’t easy, and I’m still trying to learn how to find more silence. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all … ahem … ears!