Existing in Silence

How comfortable are you with silence? My wife was away with the kids this weekend, visiting relatives, so I was left to fend for myself. I basically spent the whole time writing, other than brief interludes of attending church and going shopping for a new modem (I’m not too fond of AT&T at the moment). I spent almost the entire weekend in silence. Hours and hours of silence. I got a lot of writing done on my new book.

The silence made me wonder, however, about those monastic orders that live their whole lives without talking. I think it was the Carthusian Order that conducted themselves in silence. I’m not sure if they still do that, but the prospect goes a bit too far for me. An occasional silence will do just fine, but I suppose I really do need my own personal Greek Chorus of background yells, the intermittent thud of someone falling off the top bunk, and random status reports such as “Dad, tell Jesse to stop whacking me with the sword.”

4 thoughts on “Existing in Silence”

  1. It’s a matter of balance. I’ve only recently come to the point where I have had my fill of silence again, and will turn on music to “keep me company”. For years, while my kids were young, I was craving silence almost constantly. When their dad took the kids on an outing, I’d sit in the living room, and literally just listened to the ticking of the grandmother clock- and it was immensely soothing. I can’t hear myself think if there’s noise around me much; I can’t live without silence. But constant silence- no human speech- I don’t know if I could stand it for any length of time, either. The chatter in my head would get too loud and annoying, probably drive me crazy after a while. I’m not alone in that; Martin Luther went into major depressions every time he was alone for any length of time. I guess we all have our levels of silence and sound we need, and the trick is in finding where exactly the limits are.

    1. Ha! I need to read more about Luther. He was one odd and interesting duck. I’m afraid I really like silence. I’m not sure if that’s a strange thing for a musician, but I find it incredibly restful.

        1. Re. Luther, you could do worse than to start with the “Luther” movie (the one with Joseph Fiennes in the lead). It’s fictionalized, and has some of the events moved around for greater dramatic effect, but on the whole it’s quite true to facts.

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