Fight the Fragmentation: Create Silence

In Musings, Write Free on June 12, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I, like many writers I know, took up writing as a way to cope with or understand the world and its chaos (the personal or the global). I cannot count the number of times I have been submerged so deeply in my writing that I literally did not hear someone calling my name or asking for my attention.

Writing is its own silence, for me at least. When I go there in earnest, it is the mental equivalent to a sound-proof room.

But when I emerge, lately I’m finding myself overwhelmed with noise. Not the pleasant and grounding noises of the actual world–the conversational birds in my yard; the yappy dog next door; my son’s two-year old chatter. No, I’m talking about the steady and constant buzz of online conversation. I open my twitter feed and feel as though I’ve walked into the Wall Street trading pit at peak hours, or a Vegas casino at full tilt. I love FaceBook, but I can easily lost hours there sorting through the haiku-like snapshots of where my friends are at any given moment. News headlines about the death of entire eco-systems in the gulf, and men who prey on young girls in the guise of messiahs, crush my spirit. My iphone is constantly pulsing in my purse, asking me to text, to play games, to fragment my attention span into tiny little splinters.

It reminds me of the days of my childhood summers, often spent in a cottage rented by my grandparents out in Shelter Island, New York. I CRAVED these lazy summer weeks where I mostly read, typed stories on my Opa’s rickety old typewriter, and rowed out into the little bay with him. I feel full and calm just thinking about it.

This is my commitment to myself, and my challenge to you: Can you give yourself more deep silence? More grounding with the physical world around you? More writing time? I dare us.

  1. I love this. It echoes what my spirit is feeling. I have prescribed myself more time to live and love, and less time spent wasted trying to keep up with a technology that isn’t keeping up with me. I too miss the simple days spent with grandparents, lazing in the sun, sitting on the porch swing, eating tart juicy pears from the knotted tree in the front yard, or salted raw potatoes from the garden. My love for writing, for words and stories was birthed during those years. Thank you for this post. It reaffirms what I have been feeling and is proof I’m on the right track.

  2. Actually, I think you might have inspired this post, K. I know there are some who will see this as an indictment of those wonderful streams of noise–but it’s not. It’s a reminder to do BOTH…I just have been noticing this itchy feeling lately that I finally identified as too much time in the virtual world and not enough in my actual body. Doing more exercise lately has reminded me that the physical world is a really cool place.

  3. I totally feeling this. I have been making a habit of leaving my phone behind in small spurts (like that trip to the grocery store). It may only be 15 – 20 minutes, but I feel so liberated.

    Great post!

    • Thanks Tomara! that’s a great idea–to leave the phone behind on small errands

  4. You know I totally agree with this! I even went so far as to download an internet limiting program on my laptop – but I couldn’t get it to work. I’m still going to look at it because with the wireless it is just too easy to click on a page when I come up for air from writing – and then end up lost.

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