Although it’s cloudy today, the weather is a mid-seventies mild and there’s a light breeze, perfect for having my doors and windows open to the fresh air while I settle down to write this blog post. The problem is that there’s noise everywhere and it’s difficult to concentrate.
My neighbor behind me has decided today’s the day to repair his yard-separating fence, which requires cutting fence lengths and posts with an electric saw and his German Shepherd dogs are barking at nosy crows swooping from trees to lamp posts and cawing back. The house across the street is having new tile put in a bathroom, so the tile cutting motor is grinding its song to join in the cacophony. And somewhere high above there is the rumble of distant airliners approaching and departing Tampa International Airport.
I’ve been staring at my computer screen waiting for the usual easy to find idea for a blog subject and I can’t even hear myself think. Am I more sensitive today than usual? Or is it just that it’s one of those noisy days that happen now and then? And what can I do about it?
Classical music is something that usually helps me concentrate, so I am now basking in 18th Century music. There’s a little change, but not enough. As I sit here in my office looking around the room waiting for an idea to hit me, I’m remembering an article I read a while ago about a rather famous Florida author, whom I admire. In the article, there was a photograph of him in his writing space. He was wearing headphones. That intrigued me and I read on. The photograph showed a body of water and a boat through a window beyond the headphoned author.
We writers are often accused of having little voices bouncing around in our heads as we write and I can attest to that, so wouldn’t it make sense to be able to “hear” them? Hmmmm. I decided to test that theory and I made a trip to my local box store and found some noise-canceling headphones in the hunting department. I tried them on and Voilà: quiet! This was a eureka moment for me, an epiphany. I bought them and came home to test them out.
I think it actually turned out to be a cosmic experience or something. The moment I put on the headphones, everyone quit making noise. The birds flew away. The dogs quit barking. My neighbor stopped working and went inside and the tile guys packed up and went home for the day. No sign of airliners either. Removing the headphones didn’t make any difference. The silence was almost palpable. Now there’s a gentle drizzle falling, perceived only by light reflecting on the tiny drops against the dark trees.
Was it the coming precipitation that caused this lack of noise, or did the famous Florida writer have some sort of karmic secret? I don’t know, but I now have my blog post written and I’m happy and calm and ready to relax.
Do any of you have a way to acquire the quiet you need to write? Or do you even need quiet? Share your secrets, please.
Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland. Join her here each 11th of the month.