My understanding of the word silence changed dramatically after I read Rebecca Solnit’s essay “Silence Is Broken,” found in The Mother of All Questions. Maria Popova writes a wonderful blog post about the essay, and expresses the essence of a big part of Solnit’s essay with this sentence:
Silence, of course, is crucially different from quietude, the latter being the absence of noise and the former the absence of voice. (Maria Popova)
I yearn for quietude like nothing else. My husband and I joke that if we were ever to leave each other, it would be for a monastery in some ridiculously remote part of the world. The search for time with absence of noise, retreat from the daily silly misdoings of the world, and peace/tranquility pushes in and around me, especially right now at the end of the semester. I try to remind myself that moments of quietude exist if I choose to take them. All I have to do is set my timer, close my eyes, and focus on my breath. Setting type and standing at the Vandercook printing can do the trick too.
Breaking silence requires the same kind of effort, and is also available at any moment. We read about women standing up to sexual misconduct and other abuses every single day right now. Each one of them dug deep into their being and decided it was time to break the silence. These actions inspire other acts of courage, and spark conversation across race, gender and ethnicity. How do you find courage to break the silence, whatever that means and whenever that means?
You have 15 minutes. Set your timer. Make something.
Everyday through December 25th, I’ll be making a 5×5 inch collage, writing a short entry on this blog and sharing a prompt for those who might want to participate along with me. You can follow my progress by subscribing to this blog through the sidebar on the blog homepage, or by following me on Instagram.