I like to write in the study during the day when it’s peaceful and quiet. Most of the time, I’m surrounded by silence. The only sound is the clicking of my fingers on the keyboard or the purring of Ozzie, our cat. Throughout the day there may be a few noises—the ticking of a clock or the humming of the clothes dryer. But these sounds don’t interfere with my writing. It’s the outside noises that put my writing to the test.
For every season there is a noise. During the fall, leaf blowers blast leaves into piles. In winter, snow plows rumble down the street. When spring arrives, spray-cleaners drone on and on, driving dirt from decks and house siding. Throughout the summer, lawn mowers roar and children scream.
So you say, lighten up. You're too sensitive. Deal with it!
But noise distracts me. My brain stops working. My fingers freeze. My muse packs up, taking inspiration and ideas along with her. There’s no other choice. I’ve got to stop writing until the outside world calms down.
I long for peace and quiet, but the fact is I can’t change my neighbors’ habits. Noise happens. (I just wish it didn’t happen while I write). Meanwhile, my picture book manuscript stares at me. I can almost hear it whisper, “Come back.”
But it's useless. I consider turning off the computer. Maybe writing isn’t for me. With a sigh of resignation, I gaze out the window at kids riding bikes up and down the sidewalk. Then, I glance around the study and look upward. The ceiling fan catches my eye. The study is stuffy, so with a flick of a switch I turn it on.
Suddenly, the fan begins to drown out the noise. A gentle calmness washes over me. I am able to return to my manuscript, to the sentences that need revising. The words are powerful. Like magic, they cast spell over me, and I am writing because writing IS for me. My fingers click on the keyboard, Ozzie purrs, and the outside noises get dim and slowly fade away.
* How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess
All the Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise previously published in the Creativity Connection, 2005.