“I don't think..." started Alice.
"Then you shouldn't talk," said the Hatter.
Why are so many uncomfortable with silence?
Being truly comfortable with silence ...
say in the presence of many new people, however,
requires some amount of familiarity and comfort with your inner self.
The inner Muzak that goes through people's minds, driving them to do this and to do that,
to plan for the future and remember the past,
becomes less important when silent,
and the world around you becomes much more vivid.
This can lead to fear.
Being conscious of how close you are to another person, for example, provokes memories and associations that unbalance your sense of control.
To distract themselves from this, people talk. (which brings to mind one of the more memorable scenes in PULP FICTION.)
The amount of talking, in these situations, is directly proportional to the magnitude of their inner insecurities.
But how many when alone need the noise of the radio, the TV, the clatter of activity to end the silence?
A surgeon exposes our first interior. The scalpel of silence exposes our second.
If a person is uncomfortable in silence and when alone,
then that person is uncomfortable with his or her deepest self.
It is like being in a room with a stranger; often one will feel awkward, not sure what to say to the person.
If you are uncomfortable in silence and when alone with yourself, does that not imply that you are a stranger to yourself?
That you only really know yourself through the behavior of others?
That you depend for your identity upon how they might see and relate to you?
And if so, is it any wonder that such peers can pressure you to do things that might in the end destroy you?
What does this have to do with the craft and the art of writing?
If you are a stranger to yourself, will not your characters by that fact feel strangers to the readers, sensing a "wrongness" to them?
If you do not know yourself, how can you write well of others?
If you are uncomfortable with the silence of the soul, how will you be able to endure the solitude it will take to craft a novel worth reading?
Why do you think many are so uncomfortable with silence? Are you one of them?
* SOLITUDE by Frederick Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton (1830–1896)
This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.