Friday, April 20, 2012

S is for . . .


I live with the noisiest man on the planet. He’s never met a volume control he didn’t like. He plays his Les Paul or Strat in the garage, all amped up. That doesn’t bother me much because he’s a great guitarist. But when the plates in the kitchen cabinets start bouncing to the thump of his buddies’ drums and bass guitar—that’s where I draw the line. 

I stumble into the garage, flick the light switch off and on, and make the “cut throat” sign. I flash a Cheshire cat smile. Now that’s tact. Nothing, not even banging on the wall with a meat mallet or setting off the burglar alarm, works as well. 

Flipping the breaker would be ideal—except that the electrical box is in the garage.

The man has radios and assorted noisemakers throughout the house, and as he goes from room to room, he turns one of them on. He never turns one of them off, mind you, when he leaves a room.

And the maddening thing is, since I’m now an expert at tuning out, it takes me some time to realize my house is a jumble of noise. It’s only after I’ve read the same sentence 15 times without making sense of it, or when I omit nothing from the chocolate cupcakesexcept, of course, the chocolate . . . . That’s when I calmly, yet assertively suggest that he “Turn It Down. Please!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not an idle gripe. S is also for sweet, which to me is one of the most important ingredients in that weird concoction called man. The man himself can cook, and he laughs when I whistle. He’s my biggest (6 ft. 5; 240 lb.) fan. He coined the perfect nicknames for our daughters: Paddington, Bobo, and Squonk. Hes also the worlds largest repository of whale and elephant jokes.

He’s sweet. Who wouldn’t love a man like that? 

I could continue, but since this post is supposed to be about silence and I haven’t gotten to it yet, I’ll just say how grateful I am when it happens. When the man leaves the house, the silence is as refreshing as a juicy slice of watermelon on the Fourth of July. After I’ve danced around stirring up silence (and dust) in all the rooms, I run to my desk and let it all fall back down around me.

I write! I read what I’ve written—out loud—and I write some more. It’s so much fun. 

After a while I might even turn on Pandoraon low volume, of course. I read somewhere that Baroque music was great to get into the state called flow. It works for me. 

Besides, by that time he’s usually pulling into the driveway.

Do you write best in silence? To music? Or does it matter?


  1. I find I write better with some sort of background noise. I'll listen to music or just put on the TV. I just need something. If I don't have anything, I end up just sitting around, wondering what noise I can find and/or make myself.

  2. There has to be back round noise when I write. Music would be a distraction for me because then I'd probably be singing and not writing!! tv noise is good. I could never write in silence although oddly enough that's usually when I get my ideas.

  3. I don't like silence. I usually have the TV on for background noise when I write.

  4. I love this post!!! Those are awesome nicknames! My husband has nicknamed all his nieces and nephews awesomely, I'll have to tell him to get with it with our kids.

    I have a noisy husband too - just busy sort of noisy, not music noisy. And I have 5 kids that love to talk (and scream at each other). So I love my rare stretches of silence - that's why I stay up late at night, when everyone else is sleeping!

    1. You've piqued my curiosity. Please, please, tell me your husband's nicknames for the nieces and nephews!

  5. I do write better to music, I think ... but it's particular songs (from my personal playlist) that gets the old writing juices going. If it's just random songs playing on the radio, I'd either get distracted or lose the mood of a scene I'm penning down... Hmmm, interesting.... Nice post:)

  6. Noise AND whale and elephant jokes. Oh dear!

  7. Silence is a luxury for me, too. But having grown up with four siblings, I'm used to a bit of noise at all times!
    If you're interested, I tagged you on my blog for the Lucky Seven game--you don't have to play if you don't want to, but I just wanted to share your blog because I enjoy reading it so much!

  8. I'm giggling over Squonk. You have to use that as a name in something you write. In acting class the power of silence was always emphasized. Listening mode instead of speaking mode. I always write to music. It helps me stay focused and inspires me.

  9. I definitely prefer silence or at least music I don't know. I hope you are enjoying the challenge!

    Eat Live Move: Intuitive Eating from A to Z

  10. I've learned to write when its noisy. Kids, dog, canary, wife on phone, etc. I learn to block them out and write regardless.

  11. I like silence when I write, low level music when revising.

    I'm never one to turn on the TV, except to watch a movie. The only thing I watch is usually the BBC new version of Sherlock. My hubby is a lot like yours. However, is my best critic and supporter so I work around it.

    Nice post. And thanks for stopping by my blog. I'll be one of your new followers!

  12. I write in silence. My husband is incredibly noisy - no volume control on his voice and he never hears all the crinkling, clinking, and other odd noises he makes whenever he walks into a room. But he's sweet, so it's OK.

  13. I like to have music without words--usually classical-- playing while I write. But I like my rock and other styles when not focusing on intensive writing. If I'm at home by myself the volume goes up, but when my wife is at home I try to keep it down in deference to her.

    A Few Words
    An A to Z Co-host blog
    My Main blog is Tossing It Out

  14. My husband also always has the volume way up, and I'm constantly turning it down. I like to write in silence too, and end up doing a lot of my writing in the wee hours. I like that your husband comes up with special nicknames for everyone! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see more of you! Julie

  15. I like silence. My daughter and I could both have silence all day. The minute my husband gets up, the TV or radio goes on. Quiet is nice.