Thursday, March 19, 2009

I've spent my day in silence.

It's an experiment. Most of the time, if I'm on my own, I listen to music. I turn on the CBC - or I would have, before they changed their format and pissed me off - but that's another story. I somehow fill the house or the car with music, usually classical, preferably violin concertos. I love violin concertos.

On the other hand, if I'm truly stressed out, which I often am, I'll turn the tv on and let it provide background chatter. That way, the voices in my head are kept at bay - the ones that make sure I don't forget to worry about this, or panic about that, or bemoan my failure at something else. Of course, all the other voices are silenced as well - the creative ones, the ones trying out new poems, or ideas for that novel I will never get around to writing because I'm too busy worrying and/or listening to television chatter....

When winter arrives and we board the Turtle to go adventuring, I am thrown into another environment entirely. First of all, I'm seldom alone, and I don't always feel free to impose my music of choice on my husband, whose musical taste is quite different from mine. Much of the time, I don't have access to television at all. If I do, what I can bring in is either in Spanish or - amazingly often - a 24/7 dog and pony show of last year's celebrity "news" rehashed, alternating with right-wing rants, which make me more tense than ever. So. I develop the habit of not watching television. I read. I surf the net. I blog. I go for walks on the beach. I write poems. I meditate. More often than not, I sleep right through the night.

On our return to Life as Usual, it takes almost no time to re-establish old patterns. Before long, it's natural to flip the tv on in the morning, to check the weather and find out what new disasters have occurred during the night. "Normal" comes to imply the presence of noise around me, the muffling of thought. Silence becomes a threat.

Yesterday, Debbie posted a fascinating confession at Suburb Sanity, It was called "You can hear a pin drop", and it concerned her aversion to noise. I responded to her post, saying "I waffle. Sometimes silence makes me nervous. Other times, it feels like velvet. Always, though, I'm sensitive to little noises - like chewing, the popping of gum, slurping. Any of those will cause me to run away - or turn on the nearest source of Big Noise. Full Blast." That set me to thinking about how I use noise to escape, and how that isn't necessarily a good idea. I decided that this time, I wasn't going to fall into the trap of drowning out my voices. I would listen to them - the creative ones, at least - and stop wasting all those precious hours. So that's what I've been doing.

So far - I've spent hours thinking about my novel. I've surfed the net. I've read. I've walked to Starbucks, where I sat and thought about my novel some more, and then came up with an opening scene idea that I really like. So far, the silence has felt like velvet.

Now - as long as nobody pops any gum.....


Reya Mellicker said...

One of the worst things about living in the middle of a city is the nonstop noise. It really gets to me sometimes.

What a wonderful healing day of quiet you've had. Bravo!!

Sandra Leigh said...

It was wonderful. If only I would remember to do that more often!

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