Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor
Vision@sff.net

May I Have Some Silence Here? 

By Holly Lisle

Ó2002, Holly Lisle


In a perfect would, writing would happen in the center of a pristine office the size of a golf green, full of breathtaking wall prints, leather-spined volumes filled with learned and inspirational text, and ankle-deep carpet in some muted, classic color. Soft music would play, something fine and classical. No other sounds would intrude. In this veritable cathedral to our art, we would create masterpieces, edifices of words to rival the finest edifices of architecture.

In fact, unfortunately, writing tends to happen in the middle of laundry, with young children screaming, “Mommy, I want some lunch!” and older children arguing and joking and horsing around with each other. Cats lurk on shoulders or attacking toes; books -- paperback and stacked sideways -- lean in perilous half-arches over us as we crouch, swearing, over our keyboards in the cramped, ugly little cubbyholes we have dug out for ourselves from unwanted and unlit corners of the house. Phones ring, stereos rumble, horns honk, babies cry, dogs bark.

We don’t get cathedrals. We’re sometimes lucky to have a dedicated desk, one we don’t have to share with anyone else or with any other purpose. Like breakfast, lunch, and supper.

Yet we still write. Some of us carve a bit of peace and quiet out of the day by working weird hours, either very early or very late. Some of us have learned to threaten effectively, demanding a bit of silence and respect while we’re getting our pages done. Sometimes, however, we all end up sitting in the middle of chaos, writing in spite of everything.

We learn, after a while, to make our own silence -- to block out distractions while we fall into the magic of our words. Or we learn to write in five-minute increments, in between distractions.

But we are writers. We write. In spite of everything, we write. And whether we work in cathedrals or kitchens, we still build magic with our words.

Here’s to your own magic -- and to a little bit of silence wherever you may find it.

Happy writing,

Holly Lisle