…is what I’m pondering, the physical way we attempt to snap the taut line of nothing with a voice, an email, anything to reverberate something that echoes our ear, our mind. According to Flora’s Lexicon (Thanks Ariel for the loan of the book), the white rose expresses the sentiment of silence:

“The god of silence was represented under the form of a young man, with one finger placed on his lips, and holding a white rose in the other hand. We are told that Love gave him the rose to secure his favour. The ancients sculptered a rose over the doors of their festive halls to interdict the guests from repeating anything that was spoken” (180).

13 thoughts on “SILENCE

  1. Thinking about silence, in the opposite, is our desire to catalogue and record everything–a blog for instance. Or our ability to carry a digital camera and take a bazillion pictures. We lost silence a long time ago, but I wonder if we have lost our understanding in the value of forgetting?

  2. And here I thought I was being so clever. I think, for me, the problem with long term silence–after spending the summer at St. Peter’s–is that you really start to tear yourself apart and/or begin to see yourself or there is at least a version of reality to yourself that is fairly uncomfortable. So we talk and record to create a character? So perhaps it’s not necessarily being forgotten but as being truly remembered.

  3. Interesting. I think isolation though is different from silence, in some way. Of course, no representation of ourselves is ever accurate, is it? No one can ever be truly remembered in the way they know themselves, which is interesting, for example, you said isolation displaces your comfort zone, by showing you aspects of yourself you’d forgotten (or not previously encountered)–but for others isolation and silence allows them the perspective of displacement to see the self as other. There is then, value to creating the character?

  4. I like to think there’s a different Brenda for each being that perceives me. And there’s a different Brenda for each moment that each being holds me in its gaze. In its ear. And for every sound perceived there is a corresponding silence against which it’s measured. Against which it rests. Against.

    Ya ya, I should have another coffee…

  5. I wonder if silence doesn’t allow for the truth of a paradox. In that we see our other who is truly ourself?

    I have recently been thinking about the power of silence/isolation, in reference to great leaders that truly understood the power. I suppose there is a pure silence and pure sound, but generally we live in a place that is neither. Wise men and women, in my opinion, have understood the power of silence.

  6. Well said B–we always measure what is against what isn’t.

    Rhett, you and those paradoxes. I’m not convinced there is anything pure, and yet I’m not convinced everything is not, by simple existence, always pure.

  7. I’d always fancied myself to be a bit of a hermit, but on a three week writers’ retreat in the middle of g-d nowhere, I discovered that it’s hard to hate people if they’re not around.

    I concluded that I much prefer being quiet to being silent.

  8. Rhett: Right.(?)

    Ariel, I’ve found I feel less isolated at a writer’s colony ( I think the close proximity of the the rooms has something to do with this) than I am sitting here at my computer. I’m much more solitary in the city than I am out of it–although, that said, I haven’t tried a stint by myself anywhere for any length of time, but I like to think I could handle my own company for at least a month (although I don’t know why I think this). I don’t mind that kind of silence (there are other silences though that I do dislike, but I won’t go into details). As long as I have some method of communication–be it email, or regular mail, I think I would be fine.

  9. I wonder at difference, if there is one, between being alone and being isolated.

    In terms of the day to day, I think living in an neighbourhood with a lot of foot traffic at all hours has changed my ear. I’ve come to expect a certain amount of activity around me, to have to filter out sound and movement, to cocoon and construct quiet for myself out of sound and movement.

    I’m also contrary enough to want to choose when I’m quiet and when I’m loud and not have quiet imposed on me – when I was at the writer’s retreat I didn’t have a car and so couldn’t even go for a cup of tea and a fill-up of peripheral activity.

  10. I watched a lot of baseball with all the hunky boys from Saskatoon while I spit seeds all over the old ladies in front of me… Just kidding… I beat up the little kids and made sure I found the foul balls first so that I could get the quarter when I returned them so that I could buy popsicles… Just kidding… I ran around Demetrius in circles while singing the Can, Can song… Just kidding…

    I am going bonkers.

  11. Interesting A–maybe there is only a difference in perspective.

    RX*–an infommercial: this is your rockstar, this is your rockstar poet, this is your rockstar poet doing the Can Can at his wedding. My new cell phone has that ring–perhaps I should play it during your wedding ceremony, right when the minister says: do you rockstar poet take…da, da, da, da, da, da… .

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