Breaking the silence


I have been in silence for a long time. Half my lifetime, almost, since I last wrote a word that puts my soul onto paper for others to see. There have been many kinds of silence that have come between me and what I wanted to say.

The silence that fell when I gave up writing the novels I wrote as a child. I thought that I just didn’t know enough about the world. And it’s true that I didn’t know much about the world at the time. But who ever said that writing had to be about the answers? I’m older now, but I have still far more questions than answers. Still, those are the questions of my life. Why should I wait until I have answered them before breaking the silence?

Another silence, then…. the silence of sitting on a hillside meditating. In silence for almost three months. Trying to escape from suffering. Trying to reach a reconciliation with the voices in my head that kept criticising. Trying to… it’s hard to remember all the things I was trying to do. But it was wrong for me, I know that now. I was trying to force myself into a mould that wasn’t mine. Hurting myself. Walking the forest tracks in a search that went nowhere. Until the silence of being alone was fraught with inner voices that were all the more powerful for being silent.

I came out of that meditation retreat into another form of silence. The silence of not really engaging with the world, of keeping my emotions hidden behind a façade of sociability, because if I couldn’t bear them how could I expect the world to cope? A silence of loneliness.

The silence that hangs heaviest on me now is the silence that fell between me and the lover I thought was my soulmate. The silence that he imposed on us, so suddenly that I had no time to realise how much it would hurt me. The silence that rejected all the words of love that I was burning to say, that left me with questions battering themselves against my closed lips. The silence of betrayed hopes and broken dreams.

And in that grief I turned to my singing, that other way of expressing myself that has been part of me for so long. But I could not sing, because my voice was strangled in my dry and aching throat. How could I sing of love and hope when my hopes had been dashed so cruelly? How could I sing at all, when all my voice wanted to do was cry? But then, how could I bear not being able to sing?

So now, I put pen to paper. Fifteen minutes to write about whatever I like. To write, and write, but not to stop.

And I am surprised. I never knew that writing could be so powerful and yet so easy. Words pour out of me like they have been waiting more than half a lifetime to be spoken, and heard. Words that are not inhibited by my tears. Words of healing, and hope, and an end to silence.

Is this fifteen minutes already? I have so much more to say… 

This is based on a writing practice from the excellent site red ravine, which inspired me not only to start writing again, but to start blogging – I owe both its authors sincere thanks!

(Photo – Fountain pen macro by Wesdigital at Flickr)

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21 responses to “Breaking the silence

  1. Thank you for sharing yourself. This is beautifully written and poetic.

  2. Thanks for such a kind first comment on this blog, freeingmyself. It’s great to know that there are people out there listening!

  3. Pingback: Hair « Words that sing

  4. lirone, I just now read this post on hair. It’s such a strong image, the idea of your strands of hair being left behind for your former lover to find even as he tries to move on. I love that notion, that he just can’t quite not find pieces of you, literally.

    The topic Hair is so rich, I keep saying this, but every post I’ve read that uses hair as a topic has gone in a different direction. Each direction resonates with me. I have long hair, too, and I find the strands all over (and my husband has long hair, and I find his strands all over). Hair also has a sexual resonance, such that finding that strand means so much more than “she was once here.”

    Anyhow, I don’t mean to go on and on. I was just excited when I read this post.

  5. i love your writing, and am so glad you have found your voice. I’m adding you to my blog roll.

  6. it’s so comforting to know there still are people who meditate as deeply as you do… 🙂

  7. Thanks psychscribe and delyaskip – it really is good to know that there are people out there reading and understanding what I have to say!

  8. Pingback: Taking a risk « Words that sing

  9. I stumbled over here from the main forum and I’m so glad I did. I am thinking that your blog is one that I will want to read often. I relate to so many of your thoughts. And I love the idea of breaking the silence… kim

  10. Kim
    Thanks for commenting – I’m really glad that you like my blog.

  11. Even after a few months, this is still one of my favorite bits of writing on the net.

  12. great post. great idea. silence — ahh i know it so well. isn’t it strange how you can be in absolute quiet writing yet it can feel like you’re singing, shouting, and laughing at maximum volume?

  13. “Whoever said writing had to be about the answers?” was extremely liberating to read. That takes down all the limitations I have created for myself…

  14. Paul, that’s a compliment indeed!

    Lissa, that’s a great way of expressing some of the power of writing. Thanks and welcome!

    Jacqueline, thanks and welcome to you too. Glad that sentence was liberating for you: it certainly helped me. And I’ve found that writing is in some way a path to finding the answers I’m looking for – or at least exploring the question.

  15. Pingback: If your blog is your home, show us around… « Words that sing

  16. It’s a great time to be a writer.

  17. oh my gosh, I relate to this post, as an overly
    sensitive shy girl who just didn’t speak much,
    spent my hours hiding inside books and journals
    and art.

    thanks for sharing, for you candid words
    on what it means to be silent to you.

  18. i stopped writing for three years because of a traumatic incident. now i’m writing again and i am so much happier! my pen bleeds to ease my pain.

  19. Brian – isn’t it!

    Cynthia – I hope you’ve found the right balance of expression and silence for you.

    gkae – I’m glad to hear you’ve found your voice again, and that it’s helping your recovery.

  20. That was great. Pain hen you surmount it makesus grow and blossom quicker than anything else I know.
    I too had not written anything except a secret thought or two for more than 50 years.
    My daughter started me blogging and now words pour out in blank verse faster than I can post them. I too feel liberated.
    Thank yo for sharing your story.

  21. beautiful. this silent way you chose to expose your self and your ways is touching. and you have wonderful stuff here.
    keep writing, keep sharing, keep creating.
    blessings
    dhyan

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