Wednesday, June 17, 2015

noise with a capital "n"

written 2/1/2015
Absolute silence. Pin-drop silence. Sometimes even people moving around in the space around me or the next room over will break my concentration and then I’m done. That once-in-a-blue-moon writing session is over.

Silence helps me, but it’s also what gets in the way. Because absolute silence is hard to find. When I do find it, everything lines up in my head and marches down my arm and through my pen. Onto my page the ink flows in my semi-sloppy handwriting. It works, and the words fit together like the pieces of one of my favorite puzzles.

But then Noise – with a capital “N” – breaks the precious reverie.
Sometimes just leaving the page to sit will help. Sometimes I simply get fed up with the content. So I have to let it sit - like Mom's sourdough - and fume, and ferment, and fester. And when I get back to it, it come spilling out like children from their bedrooms on Christmas morning, shouting and gleefully chaotic. 
Of course, if I only ever wrote when I had complete silence, I would never write anything. Pin-drop silence is what I write BEST in. Sometimes semi-silence, or anti-silence work just as well.

For example, as I type this I am surrounded by the faint sound waves of my parents voices and the television. Super Bowl Sunday was never a “celebrated” holiday in our house, but we still watch it. Or, at least, my parents and my little sister do. I am a non-football-fan.  But the almost quiet is nice to write in right now. It keeps the extra thoughts in my brain down to a minimum, drowning out the unimportant voices.

Now, anti-silence, that, THAT must be used with the utmost caution. I mean, noisy coffee shops should only be the writing environment for the fiercest battle scenes and the driest tears. For drowning noise is that which forces me into my deepest concentration. The anti-silence strangles all my voices except the one that I focus on, the one that I am typing from, the speaker. The anti-silence is my bouncer, keeping everything in line until I can deal with it myself.

Each type of noise and anti-noise has its place. But my best, deepest writing comes when I can hear my own breath, my own heartbeat, and I know that I am alone. That’s the only time when I can truly be myself, and let the voice in my hand and heart and head and soul speak what it will.

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