No, really. Just shut up.
Zip the lip. Bolt your cake hole. Button your trap. Fermez la bouche.
Now turn off your iPod. Pull the earbuds out.
Now, do you hear that?
That strange whooshing noise in your ears?
That’s the sound of your brain saying thank you. It’s the sound of your thoughts taking shape. It’s a soundtrack of what takes place when you make the effort to switch off from the incessant attack on the most assaulted of our senses.
You can block your nose (smell), you can close your eyes (sight), you can shut your mouth (taste) and you can stand on one foot and make like a scarecrow (touch). But it is very difficult to block out the sounds of our everyday lives.
However, when you do stop yakking and toss the music in the top drawer, it is amazing what you can hear.
Notions being born. Pinpoints of logic being connected. Stories ripening like a marinating t-bone.
For many years I worked in Sydney, driving my car the fifty minutes to the office each day. To pass the time, I listened to the radio. Chat. Songs. Advertisements. Noise.
I had been tinkering in my spare time on what was to become my first book, The Billionaire’s Curse. I’d do a bit of writing on weekends or late at night, if I could muster the energy. But I wasn’t making much progress. I could never find the time to think about the story and how it should develop.
Then one night, as I was driving home from work, I switched off the car radio.
It was an eerie experience. What was this thing? This thing called silence.
Then, like some rusted piece of machinery that had lain dormant and unloved under a tarp in the back of the workshop, my brain fired into life.
Action scenes revealed themselves. Lines of dialogue played out in my ears. Characters wandered in and introduced themselves.
It was astounding what was revealed once I shut out all the competing noise. That drive home soon became my favourite part of the day. When I could be alone. Just my thoughts and me.