Musings on Quiet and Writing from the Library of Congress   Leave a comment

I wrote this for my other blog Andilit this morning, but then it occurred to me that this lack of quiet, still time is something that women especially seem to struggle with.  Almost every woman I know, myself included, takes on too much and ends up frazzled and exhausted at the end of the day.  So it seemed fitting to post this here, too.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

I’m sitting the gorgeous Rare Book Room in the Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress.  I’m waiting for my book to arrive, and I started to think I had nothing to do.

Yet, I have pen and paper – or rather pencil and paper.  Why does it not immediately enter my mind to write.  To take advantage of this quiet still space.  Is writing that connected to technology for me now?

I need more quiet. More time away from technology. More stillness.  I love to hear that silence that makes my ears feel softly empty. To let them rest.

I long for moments like this when I can do nothing but sit and wait. No email to fill the time. No TV or browsing to occupy me.  Just the soft whisper of a pencil traveling the page.

I wrote that yesterday, and as those words spiraled out of me, I found myself at a place that I didn’t now I had left – that quiet, stillness that comes from focus and intention.  Somehow in the business of blogs and Twitter and email and Relay for Life and book research, I had become fragmented, divided against myself as I competed with my own time to get things done.

But in those few minutes when my smartphone was tucked away in a cloakroom with my laptop, when my books were stored in a locker, when all I had was me, a very sharp pencil and some blue-lined paper, I felt myself start to meld back together.  And it felt lovely.

So here’s my challenge for you today, take at least 15 minutes away.  Put your phone and your computer in a room. Trust the kids to a spouse or a friend or a movie.  Leave your books behind.  Take a pen/pencil and paper, and sit somewhere quiet.  Climb into a closet if you have to.  Just go somewhere where there is stillness. Then, stay there until you feel your mind calm down.  If you want, write what comes to mind, but if you just want to sit in the still, do so.  You deserve it.

What makes you come back to that still point?  Where do you find that soft peace of silence?

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