Silence, solitude, and writing

Writing is not a social act. I cannot imagine being able to compose anything while surrounded by people, with the television blaring in the background, or even with the radio on. I can’t imagine sitting down to write as long as other people are in the room with me. To write, you need to be alone in a room of your own. In this respect, writing is a lot like meditation, the difference being that you need to keep your eyes open. But it is an activity that demands the discipline and silence of meditation. Perhaps Cynthia Ozick puts it best when she says:

“Writers are what they genuinely are only when they are at work in the silent and instinctual cell of ghostly solitude, and never when they are out industriously chatting on the terrace.” — Cynthia Ozick in “Writers, Visible and Invisible”

Silence is a necessary element of the reflective life. As we try to crowd our days with activities and noise, we are in danger of losing touch with this very essential component of our imaginative and creative life.

Advertisements