Quiet in the Workspace

“I don’t listen to music while writing; it seems to me I’m trying to make my own kind of music, and to have anything else going on is just noisy interference. Chang-Rae Lee, a Korean American novelist.

Mornings, I get my juices flowing by enjoying coffee with my spouse and then continuing to a tranquil space to write. It was 50-60 years ago in my collegiate and medical school days I recall fleeing to the hush of the library to focus.

We are all unique and no less an essayist than Malcolm Gladwell needs noise to write. When he first got to the New Yorker having been a journalist in a vociferous environment, they assigned him to a secluded office. He frequented cafes to obtain the turbulence level required to do his work.

Writing for some with melody, perhaps, is even more difficult than crowd noise. After all, neuroscientists documented that music affects a variety of places in the brain.

Maybe this is a part of it: “Music opens a path into the realm of silence. Music reveals the human soul in stark nakedness, as it were, without the customary linguistic draperies.” Josef Pieper, a Catholic philosopher important in the resurgence of interest in the thought of Thomas Aquinas in 20th-century philosophy.

As you sit on that continuum, here’s hoping regardless of the decibel level around you, that pandemics, daily concerns, and life’s sometimes precarious pathways don’t hinder your creativity. It is a glorious gift from God.

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