Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Silence

Words fill an empty page (or nowadays, a screen). Writing is about finding a voice and speaking.

Yet sometimes, silence feels right. The silence of contemplation, or planning. The silence of not knowing what comes next--or knowing but not being sure yet how to describe it. There are other silences, too: The silence that follows a major scene. The silence of a character who is about to face her biggest challenge. The silence of contentment, sorrow, puzzlement, anger, longing.

Silence is a rest in music, a pause in an actor's speech. It's the white space between scenes and chapters, the space that counts as much as any sentence or paragraph. Sometimes it's waiting to write the next words. Sometimes it's acknowledging our inadequacy in the face of things that are bigger than words. Sometimes it's the emptiness of having poured everything out, and waiting for the pitcher to refill.

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