Sitting With Silence

When you write words for a living, it can be hard to sit with silence. There are always so many words, so many conversations and ideas, running through your mind. I have been writing words on the Internet since 2001. That is a very long time to put pieces of you out into the world, for all to see. When I began, there was very little in the way of online communication in Australia. Certainly, my online diabetes counselling community was a world-first. In Australia at the time, there were only 3 other online counselling services of any type. Back in those days, blogging was a small community and bulletin board forums were all the rage. There was no social media.

When I started my Sustainable blog in 2013, things had changed. There were now many people writing words on the Internet. Social media was an everday thing for most of us. As I built a large following, I quickly became sought after as an ‘influencer’ by blogging agencies and PR companies. I hated that term, I still do. I tried being one of their ‘influencers’ for a while, but the drive towards trying to push people into buying other people’s stuff, just sat bitterly in my mouth. Since that time I have realised that being an ‘influencer’ is not just about products. So many bloggers start to believe that this is the purpose, the be-all and end-all. But, I believe that it is about encouraging change, raising people up, connecting people to each other, moving people, calling for action, trying to make the world better.

I have shared thousands and thousands of words – words about my life, other people’s lives, made up people’s lives. Words about the world. Words about feelings and thoughts. Words designed to entertain and words designed to move. Words designed to make a difference. I like sharing words. I am not a closed person and I am happy to reveal truths about myself and my life. It can mean putting myself at risk of being hurt and I have suffered the bitterness of trolls and outrage culture. I learnt early on, that sometimes you have to stay silent, in order to protect yourself. But, despite my introverted nature, staying silent is not really my jam. I am someone who wants to speak loudly about the things that matter.

Why am I talking about this today? Two things happened yesterday that prompted this blog post – both were other people’s words – 1) I listened to the Dixie Chicks, one of my all-time favourite bands, after the #AusWrites prompt on twitter to share a favourite musician. (If you are not part of #AusWrites please come join us!). There are so many things I love about the Dixie Chicks and so many wonderful songs, but this one really hit me yesterday.

Easy Silence

When the calls and conversations
Accidents and accusations
Messages and misperceptions
Paralyze my mind
Buses, cars, and airplanes leaving
Burning fumes of gasoline
And everyone is running
And I come to find a refuge in the
Easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay
Monkeys on the barricades
Are warning us to back away
They form commissions trying to find
The next one they can crucify
And anger plays on every station
Answers only make more questions
I need something to believe in
Breathe in sanctuary in the
Easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay
Children lose their youth too soon
Watching war made us immune
And I’ve got all the world to lose
But I just want to hold on to the
The easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay
Songwriters: Martha Maguire / Natalie Maines / Emily Robison / Dan Wilson
Easy Silence lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management

Followed by watching episode 3, season 3, of The Good Fight – if you have not watched it, you should. It is currently playing on SBS. It is incredible to me how this stunning piece of television theatre has made it through to our screens, with its considerable political and social commentary, particularly the anti-Trump thread running through the show. Inspirational Diane Lockhurt and her fellow lawyers, working to change the world, will grip your heart and mind. The issues are reflective of our current times and the messages are cutting.

Both of these pieces of art made me stop and think about words. And about silence. You reach a point in your life where you treasure both of these things – words and silence. The spaces in-between words are often what I crave when we are so digitally connected. It can be hard not to hear words that break your heart. It can be hard not to hear words that incite hopelessness deep within you. However, if you open yourself up to all the words and make sure you allow the silences, you can find what matters in life and be inspired by other people’s words. It is words that will change the world. I am sure of it. There are young people like Greta Thunberg, who are calling out their words, peppered with just the right moments of silence.

As Diane said in this episode of The Good Fight – “The People will rise up.”

I hope so Diane, I really hope so. Let’s raise our voices and celebrate the silences. Let’s influence each other towards a better world.

2 Comments

  1. Helen on April 26, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Wonderful piece.

    • Helen Edwards on April 26, 2019 at 10:53 am

      thank you

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Hello, I'm Helen

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