The Noise in Silence


As a writer of memoir, sometimes my mind hurts when recalling not only a particular memory, but also the details within that scene. The hurt part comes when noises within the silence of my thought-invoking process are heard. Sometimes the noise is distracting and not very helpful. Other times it allows me the opportunity to exercise my imagination and create scenes, even though they might have nothing to do with my memoir manuscript. I suggest to writers to allow the silence of thought, and noisy distractions to happen to help you in your writing process. That which has nothing to do with your writing themes, may actually help to enhance the development of your own story.

Distractions in my head keep in time with my travels on foot. Like any good shadow, distraction follows my thoughts when I am alone or mingling with others, in my work room or in a public arena.

My fidgety brain tracks sensory stimulation of movement, sound and smell like any horned owl zeros in on a tiny mouse or a busy beagle to a rabbit, drawing a map plotted with locations of the evolving noise. The screaming, crying and stampeding of children in a park are noted. A library pits quiet against fuzzy noise, shattering silence in confrontation. The hum of electricity from copy machines to lights to computers matching frequencies multiplies in decibels.

Noise still may bloom in the expected quiet when I am at home with shut windows, television off, or no clothes washer agitating or dishwasher running.

My voice speaks; my writing mind begins.

My imagination is put to task and the scenes write themselves.

A well-rounded woman slides her curvy hips into her vinyl front car seat. The rustling of car keys reveals a single key to ignite the engine. A black stilettoed-heeled foot depresses the gas pedal, sending the engine to roaring power, belting puffs of exhaust from the tail pipe. She leans in with a straightened back to angle the rearview mirror, pausing to stare at her reflection then runs a slender index finger along her pouty ruby stained lips. She pulls her black sunglasses down from atop her bleached blond head and securely positions them on her nose, covering her eyes blackened by thick eyeliner and heavy mascara. She sits back in her seat and takes an audible deep breath. The moments she pauses feel like hours while she stares into the front picture window of the house she escaped from years ago. Her smile opens her to reality from those memories years ago as she stirs the trapped stale air with a waving hand clearing her thoughts. I hear the acceleration blast of the engine as she backs out onto the street, and then the quieting of the engine as it leaves my sight, into the distance

The car’s rubber tires roll over gravel and the brakes squeal as she coasts into a parking space. With a snap of the door handle and a shove with her elbow she opens the car door, steps out. Her white coat flaps open with the shift of her body to standing. I watch closely as the gravel shifts and pops under her scuffed heels and her ankles begin to wobble. The loosening of gravel stops. Her feet are still. I hear her breath deep as she inhales through her mouth, gasping, and exhaling through her nose, forcing air through small passages. She takes off her sunglasses displacing strands of yellow hair streaking her face. She shades herself by standing in shadows of trees and brush lined up with her at the banks of the water’s edge. She studies the distance while shading her eyes from the sun’s reflection from the cloudy water then shouts, overriding the lapping water swimming toward her. Her eyes meet a rubber boat squealing as it halts at the grassy, muddy edge. A boy slides his leg over the rubber, straddling the inflated balloon sides and squeaks as his naked thighs rub against the wet rubber. Laughter erupts as the boy runs, his feet tapping the grass lightly, imprinting the gravel, displacing stones. Mother and son unite with short arms embracing his mother’s full hips. They breathe in unison falling into a rhythm showing he is of her. His mother’s plump lips part in a lovingly smile as she stares at the boy’s face, wiping wet hair from his moist forehead.

She cradles his face as she once witnessed earlier in the picture window.

My mind is quiet now. The noise was in the silence.

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