11 Oct 2016, 3:45pm

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Not Writing

Writing hasn’t been happening. It’s like I get up a little steam, an idea that I’m ready to leap in with, and any energy for leaping vanishes. I suspect I still need to wait ­– to not return to writing, but to move into it from a new place, except I keep slipping into the old pattern. So I wait. More quiet. More listening for the right next thing to do. Enjoying the beauty of fall. Catching up on odds and bits of tasks. Allowing myself to move slowly, to be quiet, to settle into silence. To accept I may not write again and that would be fine. Of course, as soon as I go there I’m reassured you will write again. But I’m not quite there, and pushing to get closer drives it away. I need to allow not writing to be okay. To simply be, to rest in silence. More and more I’m learning the importance of silence, of falling into it, resting in it, marinating in it.

It’s oddly nondirective in a society that pushes us to drive, to plan, to lean in. Instead, I’m putting down the paddle and waiting to see where the flow of life takes me. For those who say Into the rocks, water flows around rocks. It knows how to flow downhill. And my spiritual practice right now is to trust that.





Silence in my head

like entering a large room

after a crowded party

at a gallery




freshly painted white

the last art show gone

the new not yet hung

the room waiting


I lay my papers on the floor

study write and shuffle pages

when I’m done I sit back

into silence


6 Dec 2010, 9:35am

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The Quality of Silence

After a Christmas caroling party Saturday night (with some good singing once we’d warmed up), Sunday was immensely quiet. The girls were worn out (mono fatigue), and we were all ready for a quiet day.

Even with four of us in a small house, a little TV watching and a little trombone playing, it was deeply quiet. Perhaps it was because each of us was quiet inside, or perhaps we’d sung the house to stillness the night before.

As a writer, I love silence. I love to work in solitude, without radio or music – just (I hope) a quiet mind and lots of space for the story. Even as a child, I knew I would love this aspect of being a writer.

I spoke to a friend at my favorite bookstore, and she said that while she enjoys the customers at the store, at the end of the day she’s totally ready to be silent. She envies that about writers, being able to work alone.

The work is solitary, and I suspect it would be difficult to be a writer without being comfortable with silence. I love it.


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