Tuesday, 8 June 2010

What happened to Silence is Golden?

I've just been over at Talli Roland's blog where she was complaining about all the noise surrounding her house and I could imagine how nerve-racking it must be.

I now live in the middle of the country, where the loudest noise you'll get is the cowbells. Well, and a few peacocks screeching their heads off in the middle of the night. However, I've grown accustomed to the quiet of rural life.

But life in general is full of noise. Even if we're alone we'll turn on the radio or TV or rush to the phone. If you peep through your neighbour's window you'll see they're listening to some sort of entertainment.

There are times, nevertheless, when you crave for silence. There comes a time when you just want peace and quiet to hear your own thoughts. Just stop and listen to yourself and, if you're a writer or an incipient writer you'll probably hear voices screaming at you to let them out.

And the truth is silence brings us precious moments. Whereas you'll often find yourself trying to fill in those awkward silences with people you barely know, you'll be sure you've made a great friend when you can sit in silence with them comfortably. Or put your head under the water (remember to take it out again) for a few moments and feel the peace and silence invade you, probably reminiscent of your pre-world life. And what about those moments when everyone is asleep and you have silence all to yourself, which means no-one is directing your line of thought, you're free to ponder about anything you feel like...

So I try to make the most of those brief moments when all is silent and I'm left alone with my characters. I sometimes hush them, but they'll just ignore me and keep the party going regardless. Silence is so often bullied away by noise that it only makes shy appearances and comes in tiny doses, so I grab it whenever it dares to creep into the room.

Are you a silence seeker or will you play music whenever you're alone?


  1. I love the silence, probably because it doesn't happen too often. It's bliss when it does though.

  2. So, so true. Thanks goodness for the rain today - I actually got a bit of respite today from the drilling!

    Enjoy the silence!

  3. Thanks Debs and Talli. I'm finding it difficult to find complete silence these days unless I stay up until really late.

  4. Uy, me suena! Ultimamente, cuando los niños se han ido a dormir, yo apago todo. No quiero ver, ni escuchar nada. Leo, veo cosas en internet, pero no quiero ni música clásica. Y sí, esto sucede sólo si me quedo despierta hasta muy tarde. Shhhhhhhhhhh... no hagas ruido.

  5. I usually listen to music while I'm writing, but when I'm on a long road trip, I prefer silence.

  6. First, I'm here from Talli's blog. *waves* Nice to meet you. :)

    Okay, well, as a mother, wife and owner of two dogs, it is rarely quiet around here...and silence IS golden. And as rare as spotting that unicorn.

    I do listen to music while writing, cleaning etc., because I LOVE music. But I definitely find time by myself sans music (taking a bubble bath, for example), but I can usually hear some noise coming from somewhere in the house.
    My best 'quiet' time is on the beach/in the ocean. Yeah, the sound of the surf and seagulls are 'noise' but hypnotically so.

  7. I like the silence, but for the most part I have to have something in the background - TV, radio, fan. Usually it's just running low.

    Thoughts in Progress

  8. For years I've written to classical music, despite being a huge fan of Indie and rock, I absolutely couldn't write to beaty music! However, revising book 2, I find I can't even work to Classical, silence has become everything. Perhaps it's because our house is always noisy - having 2 boys and all!! But then I do love hearing the birds x

  9. Amanda and English Writer I always listen to the same music when I'm writing. I need to know it very well so I don't listen to the words.

  10. Hi Lola,
    Nice to meet you! Silence can get a bit creepy here sometimes. I start hearing all kinds of creaks and noises in the house and my imagination starts running wild.

  11. Hi Mason, I can't work with TV on, I don't have that much will power so I'd just be distracted by whatever is on. Even if it's the most boring programme ever.

  12. What a lovely piece. I like a bit of both actually - depending on my mood. I'm used to hustle and bustle; living in a house with four young children and a dog! Sometimes I crave silence but when I get it, I feel lonely and need some noise. I think the best silence I've ever had in my life (and I often try to recreate that time in my head) was when I put my head into the water in the Great Barrier Reef and entered what I can only describe as a scene from Finding Nemo! I actually cried at the peace and beauty of it all. If only I could dip my head in there every now and again!

    Maria x

  13. Maria, that must've been incredible. I've never done scuba diving but it's on my to do list. Maybe you should get a fish tank and dip your head in it!!

  14. I spent my high school years living on a main street with constant traffic and a box fan constantly running since we didn't have air conditioning. I grew to treasure silence. But oddly enough, once I got it, I struggled to sleep without noise.

    But I still love that feeling of going underwater just to hear that sound of silence. And as much as I enjoy some white noise to sleep, I need absolute silence to write.

    I love the look of your blog, by the way. Like aged paper :D

  15. Carolina, funny how we get used to noise in the background and don't even notice it until it stops. With fans you suddenly feel relief when you take it off, but hadn't noticed it was annoying in the first place.

    Gaby, the words children and silence don't fit in the same sentence. When they become teenagers we'll be banging at their doors to keep the techno music down.


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