Since I write every week about how much I love and honor art in all its forms, you might be surprised that I don’t consume as much of certain types as you might think. Many of my friends admit to keeping the radio or TV on most of the day when they are at home to “fill the silence.”
“It’s a distraction, you know?” said one of my friends.
How did we come to be a society so obsessed with distraction? When did we lose interest in our own minds? When did we lose touch with our own hearts? When did we forget all the gifts of stillness and silence?
I do listen to music in the car or while I get dressed or do housework. But the rest of the time, our house is pretty quiet, especially now that the kids are grown. My husband was the type to “distract” himself with TV and music before he married me. Now, he respects my need for quiet, although he may not always prefer it.
Outer silence, though, doesn’t equate to inner silence. With the radio off, I’m more likely to sing or hum on my own, sometimes changing the words to the song to match what I’m doing at the moment. (That always makes me chuckle). I’m more likely to hear lines from favorite old poems or movies replaying in my head. I’m definitely more likely to hear a character in my story start talking to me. And even though my husband has generously conformed to my need for silence, I’ve noticed he still breaks into spontaneous dance sometimes to whatever song is playing in his head.
Kids need silence too. They need to get away from their screens, their video games, and their headphones and wander into their own imaginations unprompted. They need to be able to hear their own ideas and connect their own thoughts. They need to learn to recognize the voices of their muses.
I’m not saying you have to be like me all the time, but maybe try silence for an hour a day. See if the birdsong inspires a new musical composition. Or the whistle of a passing train sparks the idea for an adventure story. Or the soft ticking of the clock puts in mind a photographic series on mortality.
It’s great to go outside ourselves to experience art, but don’t forget in silence, we often create our own art. And that’s pretty special, too.
Just another way art saves us.
By Teresa R. Funke
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