Jenna’s given me some great topics to pull from for the next few weeks. Some relate well to what we have been discussing, but because I’m still on the high of at home internet, I’d really like to talk a bit about Silence and creativity. Not that my life is really silent, even without the computer. Luba likes to wait until something important is happening - something requiring silence - and only then discover the monsters that hover around our house. They’re always just out of sight, but she knows they’re there, waiting to kill us all if she stops barking. But the article isn’t talking about silence so much as it’s referring to peace. A peace that can actually be had in the midst of barking and birds and whatever other sounds fill your day, but can’t be had on Facebook, or on the phone, or in front of the television. It’s coversation, and the conversation hybrids that slip in through the media that break the silence. Maybe because our minds want to treat them like a real discussion, and who can create art in the middle of a conversation? Maybe because everything is in snapshots and sound-bites.
That’s not to say real silence, in which dogs don’t bark, sirens don’t scream, and radio’s don’t play the same political clip over and over again, isn’t necessary as well. I love the time spent in silence - real silence -and solitude, but often a bit of sound is helpful to creation, if it’s the right sound. My husband playing guitar or piano, rain on the roof, wind in the trees, the soft voices of strangers on a train. Pure silence isn’t essential to me, but media silence is, I think, essential to art itself, because it breaks up the flow of images and thoughts. It creates too broad a collection of tiny pictures in my mind, and none of them can grow. Like the seed sown among weeds in Christ’s tale, art is like faith, it’s chokes on distraction.
The question for a lot of us,though, is how to respond to this. Media is not an essential, I'm learning that very few things are essentials, but it is helpful. I know the blogging world has been a lovely, virtual coffeehouse for me, an opportunity to meet people whose thoughts inspire and challenge me, who pursuits are similar and whose guidence is valuable. Media connects us to each other, and if it is given it's place, and not allowed to overwhelm us, it can be an absolute blessing. I can easily get addicted to facebook, to pinterest, to blogger, to youtube, but fortunately, my life sets pre-existing boundaries. If I have a fully charged computer, with nothing attached to it, I have about two and a half hours of internet. If, like today, I'm charging my phone off the computer, I have less. I could spend the evening in the car, charging and surfing the net, if my husband wasn't such a fascinating person to spend time with, but my days are still limited. Two hours, and then I'm alone with my barking dog, chatting daughter, and squealing pigs, all much better suited to encouraging art than Facebook. How other's deal with media, I don't know, I was an addict before I went off the grid, not everyone as lacking in self discipline.