Let There Be Noise
Some friends of ours just had their first grandchild and the excitement is still overflowing. They were over the other day, visiting and showing off the new bundle of burps, and I was able to hold him for a little bit. He still had that new baby smell, but I knew a few dirty diapers and spit ups would eventually fix that and he would smell like a kid soon enough.
When they brought him in, he was sound asleep. And he remained that way for awhile and by awhile I mean until I moved him around enough in his carrier that he finally woke up. To be honest, I was surprised that he was still asleep, because our home is rarely ever a sanctuary for quiet meditation. Most of the time it resembles a frat house undergoing a taping of Girls Gone Wild. Yet, this fresh little bundle of grandchild slept on undisturbed with our cats staring at him wondering what pet we brought home and if we were keeping it.
I asked our friends how the baby was still able to sleep and they said, “We don’t make it quiet around him. He’s learned to sleep around noise.” Not something you see many parents doing nowadays. Once Junior is put down for his nap, everything has to be quiet in order not to wake the blissfully ignorant infant. The entire household is now on lockdown and tiptoes and whispers are mandatory, the atmosphere now centered on a human that cannot even wipe his own ass or nose yet. I don’t even get that consideration!
However, I applaud our friends’ method. Char and I had the same philosophy as we were raising our boys. If you make it so that the world has to be silenced for the tiny munchkins to sleep, then it will always have to be silenced. At the time, I worked nights and I was not going to live my life tiptoeing around the house and wearing headphones. As it turned out, our boys were able to sleep next to the drum section at a high school football game. When it was time to sleep, it was time to sleep and nothing was going to hinder them from getting some shuteye. Now that they’re in college, the hard part is getting them to wake up!
I use the same philosophy when I’m writing. I’ve read some of the advice that tells you to find a quiet nook in your home somewhere, an office with a locked door is great, so that you can write undisturbed in quietness. Some even went as far as to say this was a vital ingredient for a successful writer. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a quiet spot in my house. I did have an office for a brief period - three brief periods, actually - but each time someone moved back home and my office went into storage bins. Currently, I have an office set up in the garage, but I live in Florida. The only thing I’d be able to create in there is a pool of sweat.
If I was ever going to write, I had to be able to do it amidst a busy household and a myriad of interruptions. Furthermore, I had to learn to write wherever I was at any particular moment. For me, inspiration doesn’t meet me at my desk every morning at nine. It meets me whenever and wherever I pick up my pen to write. Sometimes that’s on my back porch with a cigar between my fingers and a musical score playing in the background, my ideal setting. However, sometimes it’s also in my car while I’m waiting for one of the girls to get off of work or the 8 year-old to get out of school. Other times, it’s at a busy coffee house or in our frantic kitchen. Sometimes it’s quiet, but most of the time, it’s not. Conversations. Television. School girls playing and screaming. This summer was a real test as the house was a revolving door.
No matter how bad the distractions were, I never used them as an excuse for not writing. I had excuses, of course. A great procrastinator as myself always does. However, they are never because of noise or location.
Do you want to write? Then write. Write right now. Write wherever you are. Write no matter what is going on around you. If you want to write, then tune into the conversations within your mind while tuning out everything else. Write sitting down and standing up. Write at red lights and on road trips. It doesn’t matter where or even when you write. It only matters that you write. Any time is the perfect time. Any location is the perfect location. If you wait for the fantasy of the ideal time and place that you have held onto for years, you will never get around to writing. It’s an excuse and there are enough of those already keeping us from pursuing our dreams. Don’t believe the hype. Some rules are meant to be broken. Do yourself a favor and break these.
* * * * *