Tuesday, December 16, 2014

continuing silence


  I'm working on a new piece. This new artwork will actually have a sound component to it. The noise it makes, will give the piece more strength. Most of its power however, will come from its visual "quietness". I will be able to create this paradox because of what i've learned over the past 11 months.
  Before i began this project, i steadfastly made every one of my pieces soundless. But sound isn't inherently "bad", it isn't "good" either. It's what makes the noise, that should be held up for scrutiny.
  I don't feel much like writing anymore, but ideas for new artworks are multiplying in my head exponentially. My brain feels like one of those expanding Jiffy Pop popcorn things. I want to make things that are bigger than just words...
  One month to go, and i realize that so many of our words are just wasted energy. The spoken ones, and often the written ones, as well.
  I will be quiet for the rest of my life, even though i may need to make noise now and then.

Monday, December 1, 2014

continuing silence


  I haven't felt the urge to write in a while. Silence has become such a way of life for me over the past 10+ months, that nothing i experience or feel as a direct result of my living and observing it, seems unusual or worthy of documentation anymore.
  We human beings devote most of our attention to that which is new and different. It doesn't matter if it is wonderful or horrific, as long as it's novel. Often, when we get used to something, it loses its hold over us.
  When i am working on a new artwork, i thrive and face every challenge it presents with a fearless drive that i lack in my approach to all other aspects of my life. But when the artwork is completed, i want nothing more to do with it, i want it out of my sight. My mind becomes fixed on making something else, something different, something better.
  In everything but the pursuit of Art, i am extremely methodical and almost pathologically adverse to change. Because this year of silence started as art and changed into day to day life, i have become ambivalent about it. A part of me is done with it and ready to move on, while the majority of my being dreads shattering the quiet and wants to stay enveloped in it indefinitely.

Monday, November 17, 2014

continuing silence


  While heat is a noisy clamor, there is quiet in the cold. Snow muffles sound, as frost grabs at exhalations of conversation. Crickets cease and windows are closed. Tightly wrapped against the cold, people go to great lengths in order not to feel it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

continuing silence


  "...we had to get him debarked, now he screams."
  I thought she was kidding. She wasn't.
  I have been silent for 10 months. I have not had any urge to speak, until now. I want to scream.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

continuing silence


  Halloween is long past, but zombies still walk the streets. They don't look to the right or left, up or down, but stare blankly ahead. They talk loudly to someone that no one else can see.
  I have had the zombies almost bump into me on more than one occasion. They walk in front of cars, bicycles, and once i observed two of them nearly collide into each other.
  The zombie population is growing. There is no pause in the constant conversation.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

continuing silence


  It was a small park and Max, myself and the girl were the only ones in it. Max and i watched as she picked a flower and approached us. When she came close, she remarked on how beautiful Max was and asked if he was a Boxer. I let her know i don't speak but that i could hear her. The girl seemed very intrigued by this and began to ply me with questions...lots of questions.
  She told me that she was looking for God in the city, and that something had told her to come to this little park. The girl then went to pet Max, but he backed away from her touch. She had an eager look in her eyes, and asked if she could take a picture of Max and me. I declined being photographed, but motioned that she could take Max's picture.
  As she moved around, positioning herself to take an optimal photo, Max stiffened and growled. The girl mentioned that Max didn't seem to like her, so she decided to snap the photograph while standing at a safe distance. When she had gotten her picture, i smiled, waved goodbye, and Max and i went on our way.
  Max is a good dog, i don't know why he didn't like the girl. As he and i continued our walk, i began to quietly laugh to myself, remembering an old cliche i heard someplace. "Dog spelled backwards is ...".
  When people are looking for something, they will usually find it. Whether it's there, or not.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

continuing silence


  The sound of breaking glass gets people's attention quicker than just about any other noise.
  The new artwork i'm making entails my breaking a lot of glass bottles into small pieces. I put the bottles in thick plastic bags and cover them with cloth, in an effort to prevent any noise or bits of glass from escaping. But they still make that distinctive shattering sound when i strike them. The noise is jagged, like the shards i'm creating.
  Why is there a weird thrill in smashing glass? What is this odd delight in destroying the delicate? Maybe it is because there is a quiet tension inherent in the fragile and brittle that puts one on edge. Destroying the delicate therefore, results in some kind of savage release.
  Carl Sagan once posed the question, "Why do we delight in destruction and yawn at creation?"

Friday, October 24, 2014

continuing silence


  The guy who bought my motorcycle didn't even try to haggle over the price.
  I let him know that i could hear his questions, and i either pantomimed or wrote down my responses. He said the bike was worth the asking price, and gave me the cash on the spot.
  As he was on the motorcycle preparing to leave, he said, "I hope you get better soon!". Then he pulled away.

Monday, October 20, 2014

continuing silence


  It took me 2 1/2 hours to make a trip that by car, usually takes me 10 minutes.
  I fixed my bicycle and i'm back to using it as my primary means of transportation. In the city i live in riding a bicycle and driving a car to a destination, usually take close to the same amount of time. Relentless road work and subsequent detours have made driving a car more of a meandering nuisance than an expedient way of getting around. As mentioned before, i prefer biking anyway. Using a bicycle has proved to be a drain on my time, however. 
  Keeping my mouth shut seems to have heightened my awareness of everything around me, and sharpened all my senses as well. When you're quietly riding a bike and all your senses are crackling like static electricity, the distractions around you can become overpowering. Especially, at this time of year.
  It's no secret that i'm an autumnophile. I love the fall and all it's colors, smells, and even its sounds. Usually, autumn lasts about 3 days where i live. It segways from the 90 degree days of summer to blizzard conditions, almost overnight. But this year is different.
  Consistent warm days and cold nights have turned every side street along my usual travel route into a cathedral nave. Each one glowing with the stained glass effects of sun saturated fall leaves. I am a lingering, silent witness to beauty that splits my heart like it was a ripe melon.
  So now that i'm riding my bicycle again, it takes me forever to get anywhere... and i love it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

continuing silence


  The lease is almost up on my apartment. It is more than mere coincidence that my basement apartment and hell are both under ground residences.
 Some of the many features of my lovely rented hades include:
  - A kitchen sink whose aquatic displays rival those of the Bellagio.
  - Upstairs neighbors whose hobbies are loud music, performing carnal opera, indoor croquet, and impromptu pogo stick competitions.
  - Kitchen cabinets that won't close, and a front door that won't open. If you want to enter or leave this apartment, you need a running start.
  - Fresh circulating carbon monoxide, provided by the highway located just steps from my home. I'm hoping the plant life growing in my walls is providing enough oxygen to counteract it's ill effects.
  - A plush wall-to-wall carpet, that at one time was beige, but now resembles a world map.
  - An ancient heating boiler on the other side of my bedroom wall, that is very much like a grizzly bear. It does nothing and lies dormant for most of the winter. But when the warm days of spring arrive, it finally rumbles to life and takes a leak in my living room.
  So....i need to find a new place to live. However, maintaining my silence makes this process very difficult, as virtually every apartment listing is accompanied by a phone number.
  If you can't pay the equivalent amount of most lottery jackpots in rent per month, you need to be able to move fast on any affordable listings. In this competitive housing market, sending a text (if even possible) in response to a listing, doesn't even get you in the running.
  Of course, there are the tantalizing "open houses" for some available apartments. At these one or two day events, applications are taken (so is an application fee of $30.00 and up) from desperate people willing to fling their most confidential personal information at anyone who looks like they could possibly provide affordable shelter for a few months.
  In a booming rental market, a "landlord" could easily garner 20 or more applications during a five hour open house. That's $600.00 for providing pens and paper to people for an afternoon. The landlord isn't even required to provide proof that a credit check was ever done. It makes pyramid schemes look like church bake sales.
  Anyway, i'll maintain my silence and keep quietly looking for a new place to live. A lean-too in the park is looking more and more inviting. Cheap, no upstairs neighbors, and lots of fresh air.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

continuing silence


  I'm so tired of staring into screens. Any correspondence with businesses has to be done via email. Any conversation with friends has to be done via text. If i go out with anyone, it's almost always to a movie (dinner "conversations" tending to be very awkward).
  I haven't had time to repair my bicycle, so i'm forced to drive for a while. Staring out the windshield ...just another screen.
  Thank goodness for my books (the paper variety). If i had to stare into a kindle in order to read, i think i'd go bananas.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

continuing silence


  Peace and quiet are two very different things. Just being silent does not bring one peace.
  Even though the ocean is calm, the mines underneath, held down by rusting chains, will eventually bob to the surface.

Friday, October 10, 2014

continuing silence


  I used to work at a health club located in a private, gated community. There was a meditation instructor who was employed there as well. He was very quiet. When he did choose to speak, it was always some piece of sage advice or an astute observation uttered in an almost whispered voice. When he moved, it was as if he was under water, his motions slow and gracefully fluid.
  The meditation instructor was treated with an almost awed respect by the members and employees of the health club. I was very impressed with him as well. I admired how composed and utterly immune to life's petty annoyances he appeared to be. I truly envied his deep inner peace.
  It was a gated community with its own security staff, so employees often had to wait in line at the visitor's entrance, while guards admitted their cars one by one. This tedious process was an annoyance, especially when you had to deal with it on a daily basis.
  I was waiting in line one day, when the admittance process seemed to be taking even longer than usual. I was already late and my irritation was growing exponentially with every passing minute. Then i happened to notice that the meditation instructor was behind the wheel of the car in front of me. He seemed unperturbed by the wait, aloof and above life's little annoyances, seated calmly in his bmw. I chastised myself for not being more like this serene soul.
  As i watched him admiringly, he suddenly waved one of his hands, as if to shoo away a fly or a bee. Soon he started to wave his other hand as well. Before long, he was wildly flailing both his arms around his head, gyrating around in his car like a teenager in a mosh pit, all the while thrashing madly at some winged assailant.
  At this point, tears were rolling down my face. I'm a little ashamed to admit they were from hysterical laughter rather than empathy. I couldn't catch my breath long enough to yell, "Get out of your car!" or offer some real assistance.
  As if he'd heard my unuttered advice, his door suddenly flew open. He then jumped from his beemer, swinging a rolled magazine around his head like a drunk swordsman, while loudly cursing the airborne demon. The bug appears to have lost interest at this point, and consequently decided to fly away. With a final expletive, the meditation instructor hurled his magazine at the exiting insect and got back into his car.
  The line eventually advanced, and when he reached the guard house, the security man recognized him. He nodded his head respectfully at the meditation instructor and quickly lifted the gate so the shaman could be on his way.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

continuing silence


  I don't hate television, i just don't find much on it very interesting. If i can't learn something from a program (or anything else, for that matter), i don't want to spend my time on it.
  However, i have discovered that turning off the sound, makes t.v. far more interesting. Shows become more rewarding when you have to decipher them. Using observation and imagination to follow a story line, is a fun challenge.
  Art is somewhat similar in this respect. Many times people have asked me what one of my pieces means, without having spent any time interacting with it, whatsoever. This is like someone giving you a jigsaw puzzle, and you handing it back to them saying, "Can you put it together?". Things and experiences hold more value, and have more of an intellectual impact, if we work for them. When we figure something out, we tend to retain the lesson.
  Brains need exercise or they become lazy and mired in subjectivity. Unfortunately, not a lot of what's on t.v. is much of a mental workout.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

continuing silence


  Recently, a new world record was set for "the loudest outdoor stadium". The fan's uproar reached 142.2 decibels. "Loud and proud" was the theme when the record attempt was made.
  The most quiet stadiums are said to have "the weakest fan bases", and are labeled "pathetic". There is no world record for the quietest.
  There are actually very few world records related to silence, whatsoever.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

continuing silence


  I was sitting on the roof of my car, greedily sucking in the fall colors blazing from a grove of Aspen trees. Yellows, reds, greens and oranges, they seemed almost confectionery in their warm hues.
  A car pulled in behind my perch. I could hear the stereo and the slam of a door. "Please, please, please, turn off your stereo", i silently pleaded. The car's engine had been turned off, but the music kept playing. I concentrated on trying to tune it out. I have become very adept at mentally blocking out the noise of those around me.
  Soon i felt a presence near me. It always mystifies me how we can sense someone near us, even though we do not see or hear them.
  I looked down from my roof and there was a woman standing next to my car. She said hello, and told me that she had been photographing me in my reverie. She told me that she would send me the pictures if i provided her with my phone number. I was surprised out of my absorption with the view by this thoughtful gesture from a complete stranger. I let her know that i don't speak and gave her my phone number with a quiet gesture of gratitude.
   As the woman made her way back to her car, it occurred to me that i had been sitting there quite a while, and i should move to let her have an unobstructed view of the beautiful colors. I could hear her music playing as i waved and departed.
  Later that evening, i received 2 photographs on my cell phone. There i was, small against the beautiful backdrop of Aspens, quietly watching the trees, with no one else in sight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

continuing silence


  Clutter in a house, a picture, or a life, is busy noise. While minimalism is clear and quiet.
  Noise is often associated with activity. But towards what end?
  There is strength in quiet. Silence is resolve.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

continuing silence


  We had decided to take a mountain drive and see some autumn color. The ride started with an exchange of pleasantries, but busy traffic soon made much communication between us untenable.
  At first, the car stereo was playing. But because of the mountainous terrain, the signal faded out. So my friend used her cell phone to fill the void of having a mute passenger.           Before long, the cell reception also died, so she began to whistle.
  I was preparing myself for the inevitable injuries i would sustain by jumping out of the moving car, when i suddenly recognized the opening theme from the Andy Griffith Show. We were driving in the back country and my friend was whistling the tune from Andy Griffith.
  It was one of those absurdly perfect moments that are always so brief, but will stand out in your memory more than your entire junior year of high school.
  The radio signal soon reestablished itself. My friend raised the volume and began tapping out a rhythm on the steering wheel. I put my window down and stuck my head out of the car. I enjoy the rush of the wind and the quiet rumble in my ears.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

continuing silence


  If there existed such things as angels, and they were ever moved to applaud, it would sound like a September breeze blowing through a grove of Aspens.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

continuing silence


  When someone "pays" attention to you, they are literally spending a part of their life in order to hear what you have to say. This places an incredible and heavy responsibility on you. 
  Just shutting up can be very liberating as well as philanthropic. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

continuing silence


  A deep and encompassing fog was absorbing everything into its self. I jerked my car over to the side of the road and scrambled down the steep ravine in order to fully experience it. I sat myself down on a rock outcropping, eagerly anticipating being fully enveloped by the incoming cloud.
  I watched the fog's tidal flow slowly climb up the walls of the deep valley. The bright sun was on my back and the thick blue of the sky rested on top of the encroaching white mist. I was completely mesmerized.
  I felt a shadow cross over me from the road above. Some people had pulled over their s.u.v. The car engine shut off, mercifully stifling the thump of loud music. Doors slammed and boisterous exclamations ensued, as they photographed one another standing in front of the beauty that was unfolding in the distance.
  "Helloooo down there!!", someone yelled at me, or no one in particular. I maintained my silence with my back towards them as the fog drew closer.
  Soon the car doors slammed once again, the engine turned over, and the beat of music reasserted itself. The noise faded into the distance as the car moved further and further away.
  I suddenly noticed that there were ripe raspberries hanging from little bushes all around my perch. I picked a few and munched contentedly as the fog began to wrap around me. It was cool, quiet and one of the most beautiful things i have ever experienced.

Friday, September 12, 2014

continuing silence


  Max hates loud noise.
  He is pretty tough looking and people are intimidated by his appearance. They have no idea that he is one of the most mellow, thoughtful dogs that i care for. Sometimes, he'll just come to a complete stop while we're walking, as if he's pondering something. It will take some insistence on my part to get him moving again, but he eventually does, in an almost condescending way.
  The only thing that disturbs Max's aloof temperament is noise. He almost cowers when a bus roars by us. He will not cross a street if there is a loud truck waiting at the light. He despises those guitar players in the park and will steer us far away from them. Sometimes, i cover his ears and that seems to help. He's the only dog i know who behaves this way, and he is one of my favorites.
  The other odd thing about Max is that i've never, ever, heard him bark. Not once.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

continuing silence


  He wanted to chat so much that he nearly killed us both.
  I'd dropped off the car and the shuttle driver was giving me a lift home. He was a really nice guy and we were the only people in the van, so i guess he wanted to talk. I didn't speak, so he assumed i was hearing impaired.
  Often when people assume i'm hearing impaired, they will write down whatever they want to say to me. I consider these to be win-win situations, as it makes for 2 silent people instead of just one. The more quiet the better, as far as i'm concerned. Although i may be inclined to change my opinion...
  The driver began furiously writing down conversational queries on a note pad, while he was driving. I kept my responses to plainly visible nods and head shakes as i nervously watched the road ahead of us. Every time he looked downwards to write something out, the van would veer off to the right or left. I tried looking out the side window, but he was determined, and as i felt the van lurch off course, he would wave his note pad in front of me. I "dropped" the pad more than once, taking my time to find it, just so he would look out the windshield occasionally. But his insistence on helping me look for it after the third drop, squelched that strategy.  This person was a great conversationalist and he wasn't going to let a little vehicular homicide deter him. I was less terrified on Space Mountain.
  We eventually made it to my house in one piece because he wound up taking a cell phone call as he gazed out the front windshield. I'm against people chatting on the phone while driving, but in this case i was willing to make an exception.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

continuing silence


  When i look up at the moon and stars, their deep quiet pulls at me. It's a feeling like the effect of buoyancy in a thick, dark ocean. I feel as if i'm going to be pulled right out of my shoes.
  Space is quiet. There is no sound out there. The motion picture roar of rocket ships is a fabrication. Earth is no more than a pin prick of noise in an infinite silence.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

continuing silence


  In our culture, displaying a general lack of emotion is equated with being "cool". By default, being silent is to appear "cool".
  But the ironic truth is, my silence has amplified my awareness of, and my emotions towards, everything around me so much that i've become utterly, completely, and irretrievably uncool.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

continuing silence


  One of my favorite places in the world (so far) is on top of this mountain located about an hour and a half from where i live. It is not my favorite place all the time, just on the evening of every Labor Day.
  I go there every year to celebrate my release from summer's fetid grasp. I also go because on that night, it is one of the quietest places i have ever experienced.
  It is always cold and the wind howls as i weave my way around and over the granite boulders to the summit. In the darkness, the sharp rock glints and flashes, deflecting the moon's intrusive gaze. No one else is ever there on this last night of accessibility. In the morning, they will close the park entrance gates for the season.
  When i reach the top, i watch the stars while the moon watches me. Occasionally, the wind will stop to inhale, and the momentary pause is so exquisitely, achingly,  quiet.

Monday, September 1, 2014

continuing silence


  When i was a kid, it was at about this time every summer that my father would drive the whole family to an old farm house in Maine. It had no electricity, no plumbing, and no phone. I remember thinking it was the greatest place in the whole world.
  I can also remember my father saying it was great to get away from it all, especially the telephone. This was before cell phones, so when you "got away from it all", you actually did. It was so quiet there (as quiet as it could be for a family with 5 kids.....). I wonder if families would even consider that a vacation anymore.
  My Dad is gone, the farm burned down, and telephones have become parts of our bodies. Maybe "getting away from it all" and "peace and quiet" are old fashioned notions that are gone as well.
  A friend of mine told me that my silence is a burden on those around me. Perhaps someone being quiet is burdensome to our modern society. It is similar to riding a horse on a freeway.

Friday, August 29, 2014

continuing silence


  When the elevator door opened, i startled the lone occupant. Her dog however, remained peacefully seated on the floor, completely undisturbed.
  "I thought you had that dog with you!", she said.
  I motioned that i don't speak and she seemed delighted at the opportunity. As we dropped downward, she began a litany of complaints against "John" (name changed to protect the innocent). John is a dog i walk that lives on her floor.
  John came from a shelter and you can tell he suffered some abuse before he was put up for adoption. He is a bit skittish and very defensive. He is also one of the warmest and most affectionate dogs i've ever taken care of.
  But my elevator companion didn't see him that way. She called him a "barker" and said he was "crazy". Her diatribe had just wound down as we reached the lobby.
  When the elevator door opened, she roused her subdued dog, smiled, and thanked me for listening before bustling off. I smiled back and proffered a small wave. I guess she just needed to vent and John was actually just a small part of a bigger problem.
  I have found that just smiling alleviates a lot of the unease many people experience due to my silence. Most of the time if you smile at a human being, they will smile back. It's a conditioned response we all have hardwired into ourselves since infancy.
  Just as a side note: You should never smile at a strange dog. Showing your teeth is a sign of aggression in the canine world.

Monday, August 25, 2014

continuing silence


  His shopping cart had more stuff loaded on it than i have in my entire apartment. As he pushed it down the street, he yelled continuously. He yelled at cars, he yelled at other people, and he yelled to himself.
  I was walking one of my dogs when we caught his eye. From across the road he yelled out, "What kind of dog is that?!!"
  I wasn't close enough to him that he would have been able to read my lips, so i just gave him my usual "i don't speak" gesture.
  He responded with a quiet nod and gave me a thumbs up. Then he placed his index finger to his lips in a librarian style, be quiet way and quietly continued to push his cart along the sidewalk.
  A few minutes later i could hear him yelling at some construction workers about a block away. He was yelling at them to "Shut the f*ck up!".

Friday, August 22, 2014

continuing silence


  I was riding my bike and suddenly a car door opened right in front of me. I missed getting completely knocked off my bicycle by a millimeter. The only sound i made was a quick, startled gasp of air. No yell, no angry expletive. The driver who had opened the door yelled out an apology as i just kept on riding.
  I think i was more surprised by my reaction than i was by the opening door. At last, my instinctual response is now silence.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

continuing silence


  To some people silence implies mystery. There exists some deep, dark secret underneath a refusal to speak. They view self imposed silence as some kind of psychological wall that needs to be breached in order to set "right" a person or situation. Silence is an aberration to them.
  I'm afraid my silence isn't nearly that romantic. I'm not speaking as a kind of experiment. It is not to cover anything up.
  I feel noise is more of a cover up than silence anyway. Noise has a way of drowning out uncertainty, reason and truth. There are no walls in silence, no fortifications in peace. Bull horns are used in altercations and the construction of walls is always noisy work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

continuing silence


  When you are silent in social situations, it's like wearing sunglasses indoors. People think you are strange and can be very suspicious of you. But i can't think of a better way to cut down on the glare and see things with so much more clarity.

Monday, August 18, 2014

continuing silence


  No one was hurt. The other driver, her passenger and myself were all fine. But both of our cars had suffered some damage. The person who rear ended me was very agitated, and so was i at first... But i resolved to stay silent through what i was sure was going to be a long and drawn out ordeal.
  After we had both pulled over, the other driver got out of her car and approached me. She looked irritated, but anxiously said it had been all her fault. She seemed braced for a verbal assault to come from me. She kept on talking nonstop as if she was fending off my inevitable wrath with a barricade of talk.
  After a few minutes, i smiled and motioned that i do not speak. I then took out my cell phone and proceeded to report the accident to my insurance company via email. I mimed to her that she should do the same.
  I had finished filing my own report by the time she was finally taken off "hold" and had the opportunity to speak with a representative from her insurance company. She chain smoked while pacing back and forth, relaying the pertinent information with called out help from her passenger.
  I felt almost removed from the whole experience as it unfolded around me. I quietly watched as the other driver wrote out all the important information as it was being fed to her. She took my documents, presented hers, and occasionally gave me a thumbs up as her call progressed. She was a flurry of noisy activity and only paused occasionally to berate herself and her misfortune.
  After about 45 minutes, she was done with her call and presented me with the paperwork i needed to file a claim with her insurance company. She then gave me a hug (i'm not kidding), got back in her car and drove off.
  I paused a minute to process everything that had happened before getting back into my own car. The police cruiser she had called for an hour ago, finally appeared and i just waved them away. There was no need for them after all.

Friday, August 15, 2014

continuing silence


  She held her ear about an inch away from my mouth. I don't know what she hoped to hear. Maybe the sound of the ocean?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

continuing silence


  I often see these same three little kids whenever i walk this particular dog. They always ask to pet him, and are very aware that i don't speak.
  There was a new face with them today that i had never seen before. She smiled and gave me a big bright "Hello!".
  One of the kids i already knew quickly turned to her and said, "Shhh, he doesn't talk. You have to whisper."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

continuing silence


  I have pretty much stopped telling people i can hear them. I like being able to surreptitiously stare into their faces.
  Facial expressions say so much more than fickle mouths. The only way people look you in the eye anymore, is if they think you're reading their lips.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

continuing silence


  It just occurred to me, maybe the human love of the musical components of beat and rhythm, starts in the womb. The reassuring beat of a mother's heart, so calming and pleasant to the yet unborn.
  My mother was taken from me when i was very young. I remember hearing her suffering at night.
  I loathe the sound of my heartbeat and the feel of my pulse. I would rather get a shot than have my blood pressure taken. This "music" the human body makes is a dirge to me. Just a pounding reminder of my corporeal frailty and inherent mortality. I despise this noise.

continuing silence


  I think i have discovered why people whistle and hum! Or at least one of the reasons (nothing is ever entirely anything).
  I've been observing people who whistle and hum lately, and i think it's a rhythm thing. Like when rowers on old galley ships would row to a beat on the drum. Or field workers would sing together. When you move to a beat or a melody it makes any monotony more easy to bear.
  Beats and rhythms make everything better for many of us. Music is a frosting for absolutely any cake, for a large number of people.
  But not me. Why have i never developed an appreciation for music?   I must have silence, for ever increasing periods of time. I love it. Even soft melodies are the ruin of my quiet addiction.
  It seems whenever i examine things closely, any "problem", is usually my own.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

continuing silence


  People dislike silence. By attempting to make myself an embodiment of silence, i have made some people dislike me.
  On various occasions i have overheard myself being referred to as weird, cold, unfriendly, crazy, creepy and full of myself. Mostly from people i don't know and have never spoken to. Sometimes by people i do know and used to speak to.
  I'm not arguing the accuracy of these observations by the people who know me. I think it is nearly impossible to see oneself objectively, so there may be some truth to be found in their judgments. I honestly feel people thinking you are "crazy" is more of a liberation than a condemnation, anyway.
  But i do not understand people disfavorably labeling me when they have never spoken to me and have no idea who i am. Perhaps these people are channeling their unhappiness over some condition in their own lives towards me. It would be similar to if they were stumbling through a dark room and tripped over an unseen object. In their bewilderment and anger they would kick the object even though they have no idea what it is and that it certainly didn't deliberately harm them.
   Don't dislike me just because i won't speak. Get to know me and establish a good reason to dislike me.

Monday, August 4, 2014

continuing silence


  I know it's rude eavesdrop, but i don't really take part in many conversations myself anymore. Besides, they were talking pretty loudly and sat themselves at the table right next to the seat i was occupying.
  While i quietly sipped my coffee, they both animatedly talked about their mutual acquaintances. Just for fun, i counted the times they used the word "like" during their conversation.
  87 times.
  I was seated next to them for a little over 10 minutes.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

continuing silence


  The fire engines rush by, their sirens screaming. The noise is almost agonizing and i feel like my eardrums are going to shatter.
  Concerned about the highly sensitive ears of the dog i'm walking, i stoop to cover them. It's then that i realize he hasn't reacted to the loud tumult whatsoever. He couldn't care less and is calmly walking along in front of me like always.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

continuing silence


  For a moment i forgot how to access voice messages on my cell phone (it turned out to be a sales call). I think it was just a momentary lapse of memory, like when you forget what day it is. But, it has been a very long time since anyone has left me a voice mail.
  Even before i went silent, the amount of voice mail i receive had been in a steady decline. Texting has taken its place as the preferred way of conversing. Very few people want to listen to messages anymore.
  Texting is the fast food way of communicating. I have to admit that sometimes i miss a nice four course conversation.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

continuing silence


  I have a friend who has spent a lot of money on a new vacuum cleaner. He wanted to get the quietest model available.
  Many notoriously noisy appliances such as vacuums, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers are available in much quieter versions now. Of course, appliances that have the quieter technology are more expensive than the traditional noisy versions.
  My friend was willing to pay more to have a new quiet vacuum cleaner so that he would be able to hear his television while doing housework.

Monday, July 28, 2014

continuing silence


  When i was going to school, instructors would make class participation a contributing factor to one's overall grade. So, theoretically, even if you had perfect test scores and aced all your writing assignments, you might not receive the highest possible grade at the end of the semester because you were quiet in class. You would be penalized because you were not outspoken and opinionated during the academic year.
  Simply stated, starting at a very young age onward, we are discouraged from being silent.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

continuing silence


  Why do people whistle? Is it because they're happy? Or bored? Are they working out some kind of musical composition in their heads?
  Maybe whistling is a kind of unconscious reflex action. Like when we can't sit still, so we drum our fingers and tap our feet. It's similar to when a cat lies motionless, except for his twitching tale.
  Perhaps whistling is yet another way for some of us to avoid silence and the contemplation that haunts it. We're just whistling in a grave yard.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

continuing silence


  Now that i've become a listener instead of a talker, i've discovered that many of us don't care what other people think. We only care what we think.
  I have been watching conversations for months now and i've observed that we are the most animated and display the most enthusiasm when someone else reinforces the beliefs we already hold. Often, if any of our core beliefs are questioned or skeptically examined by another person, we tend to get defensive and even angry.
  A majority of the population react to Art in a similar fashion. If we see a painting of something immediately recognizable and pleasant to us, like a sunset, we react with enthusiasm. The painting reinforces our already held belief that sunsets are "pretty", so we immediately like it.
  But make a piece of Artwork that is unfamiliar or confronts a religious or sexual taboo....or bring up the subject of abortion at your next party...and watch tempers flare and voices rise.
  Raising your voice louder than everyone else's doesn't make you right. Shouting down or ignoring the new and different doesn't make it go away.
  Be quiet and listen. Your fear makes you deaf and blind.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

continuing silence


  Whenever i encounter groups of strangers, whether they are admiring a dog i'm walking or asking for directions, inevitably one will turn to the other(s) and say, "He can't talk." Not, he "doesn't" talk. It's always, he "can't" talk.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

continuing silence


  How obligated am i to make noise?
  I feel i am obligated to make noise as a last resort in order to prevent another living thing from harm. But am i obligated to make noise if my silence causes another living thing to feel sad, uncomfortable or angry? Is that my problem or theirs?
  Far too often we let the subjective influence of others dictate how we feel. When we are small children we use our parents' approval or disapproval as a guideline on how to behave. As we grow into young adults we mimic others and let the fear of being ostracized rule our lives. Some of us never really grow out of this way of living.
  Most of the time our ideas of beauty, morality, justice and even fun are based on what society defines them as. Even people that rebel against societal norms tend to gather in sub groups with their own modes of behavior and appearance. As a species, we are still anachronistically tribal. While we may no longer rely on the tribe for physical survival, we have come to rely on it for self esteem.
  How often has someone else "ruined your day" by making a remark? If the incident caused you no physical harm, why did their momentary subjective behavior upset you? Other people's opinions about you are often more about themselves than you, anyway.
  The noise (or silence) from others should always be viewed with an objective eye.

Monday, July 21, 2014

continuing silence


  Silence is very time consuming.
  Waiting behind people who don't go when the light turns green. Waiting to get around people who don't realize they are blocking your path. Waiting for responses to emails because you can't call the company on the phone.
  When you are silent, people become a lot less aware of you. Conversely, silence makes you a lot more aware of them.
  Silence is a futile attempt to pause life so you have time to think.

Friday, July 18, 2014

continuing silence


  Roughly 3 thousand years ago, i was dating someone and we had what i thought was an ideal solution to a common(?) problem that can occur between couples.
  Sometimes you or your partner may just not feel like talking. It's not anything your significant other did, you just want peace and quiet for a while. Perhaps you need some alone time after a hectic day.
  Often reflective quiet on the part of someone in a romantic relationship is subjectively interpreted by the other person as a withdrawal from them in particular. They become insecure and actively question and solicit the person who's only momentary objective is simply the solace of a little silence. So much unnecessary conflict can arise from this kind of situation.
  To alleviate any insecurities of a misunderstanding partner, it may be necessary to make your need for quiet plainly visible and therefore impossible to misinterpret. The person in need of solitary silence simply places a written sign on themselves that is readily visible, saying something to the effect, "I'm not upset by anything you've done whatsoever. I just feel like having some quiet time. Talk to you soon. Thanks."
  Wearing a sign while you move about in your own home may seem a bit weird, but it's not nearly as ridiculous as many of the arguments started over a simple need for occasional silence.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

continuing silence


  Man, did it hurt!
  I fell to the floor thrashing around. My mouth opening and closing in spasms of pain, i rolled back and forth. I was like a freshly caught trout on the bottom of a row boat. Completely silent, utter agony.
  I didn't make a sound and yet it still hurt.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

continuing silence


  I have taken to wearing ear plugs when i visit art museums and galleries. I want to be able to completely immerse myself in whatever work i'm looking at without any extraneous distractions.
  The thought occurred to me that i might be missing out on other art patrons' shrewd insights by blocking out all sound with my ear plugs. So i removed them for a while and listened to the observations being made around me. Some of the things i heard were interesting and enabled me to view certain pieces of Art in a new way. There are however, 3 particular comments that seemed to be repeated by a large number of people when viewing modern Art, that i would actually like to address.

  #1. "I hate abstract art. It's just a hodge-podge of paint on a canvas."

  I think the term "abstract art" is often misused. In order to create abstract art you must take something that already exists and abstract it (change it). Art that is not based on representing anything concrete should be referred to as nonrepresentational art. I mention this because i'm trying to clarify the vocabulary of Art.
  Art is a language and if we do not speak a language it often subjectively sounds like noise to us.
  I was sitting in a restaurant a few years ago with someone i hadn't known for very long. The people seated next to us were conversing in Spanish. My acquaintance muttered under his breath that this was America and that they should speak English. He called Spanish "annoying chatter".
  First, i wonder how many sailors on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria spoke English?
  Secondly, and more importantly, declaring an entire language to be "chatter" is completely absurd (not to mention incredibly racist).
  If my acquaintance took a little time and learned to speak some Spanish, he might discover that it's a beautiful language that contains descriptive terms and nuances that are not found in English. But it's easier to just subjectively declare something to be chatter and make uninformed and ignorant comments.
  Art is as complex and beautiful a language as any of the spoken variety used by human beings. It is well worth the time to study and become fluent in it.

#2. "I could do that."

  I very sincerely doubt it.
  I used to like to watch gymnastics. The athletes on the rings, balance beam, bars and floor were so talented and skilled that they made their performances look effortless.
  I thought it looked pretty easy, so i tried it myself. Utter disaster....my right shoulder still hurts when it rains...
  Some Art looks deceptively simple, but is in reality hugely complex and extremely difficult to create.

#3. "How much is it worth?"

  What is it about our culture that compels us to place a monetary value on everything? I personally think that putting a price on a great piece of Art is like trying to stick a price tag on a sunset.
  We human beings like to "have" things. This rampant desire to own things is utterly ridiculous if you think about it.
  I was driving with a friend in a remote area of southern Colorado a couple of years ago. I gazed out the window and noticed every square foot of land that we passed by had some kind of fence around it. The absurdity of this way of thinking hit me when i saw a small mountain in the middle of a vast expanse that someone had fenced off. Someone actually felt they owned a mountain!
  The human lifespan is usually 90 years or less. Maybe a hundred if you're extremely lucky. A mountain's lifespan is usually millions, if not billions of years, more or less. To think that you could own something like a mountain or even a small piece of land of that matter, is ludicrous. You are at best, borrowing it for a very short time. (Do everyone a favor and take good care of it, please.)
  A great piece of Art is truly and actually, priceless. While living artists do have to eat, great Art belongs to, and should be accessible to, everyone. The joy it can bring and the lessons it teaches are far above any petty monetary value.

  I hope by addressing some of these misconceptions concerning the nature of Art i can help keep some of the noise down at the next exhibition.

Friday, July 11, 2014

continuing silence


  What is it that compels human beings to go "aww" at something we perceive to be cute or endearing? Or to make a "mmmmm" sound if something tastes or feels good?
  Is this a learned behavior that eventually became hardwired into our brains over generations? Or is it a kind of human "purr" that we've always had?
  If we can hard wire noises into our basic make up over time, could we do the same with silence?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

continuing silence


  I haven't heard the sound of my own voice in a long time. So i decided to listen to an old recording of it on my headphones.
  It's funny how many of us don't like the sound of our own voices when a recording of them is played back. They sound "weird" and not at all as we imagined them to be.
  We also don't tend to like pictures of ourselves unless they've been appropriately altered to better fit our own self image.
  Often, the actual truth is just not to our taste.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

continuing silence


  "How long has it been? You are going to talk again, right?"
  I've been hearing these questions from people a lot lately.
  I think many of them see this period of silence i'm doing as a burden on me. They think of it as a deprivation that i can't wait to be done with. A majority of these people enjoy talking, and maybe revel in noise as well.
  It has occurred to me that in some unconscious psychological bent, one of the reasons i began this "year of silence" was to perform some kind of penitence for my transgressions of the past. It's entirely possible.
  I often make many of my art pieces never really knowing why, until months or even years later. I make most of my artworks out of instinct. I compulsively cobble things together and figure out the semantics later. While i no longer consider this endeavor in silence to be an artwork, the basic principle still applies.
  I honestly don't know if i will make noise again. To me (so far), this isn't a sentence i'm serving, it's a vacation.

Monday, July 7, 2014

continuing silence


  My ears have been clogged up for a few weeks now. They've been like this ever since i was sick a while back. I should get them checked, but i'm really enjoying the quiet.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

continuing silence


  There are a couple of older dogs that i take care of whose "owners" tell me that they're going deaf. Yet, i could say the word "treat" from a mile away and both of them would be in front of me in 3 seconds
  I think that both dogs just got tired of fetching...

Friday, July 4, 2014

continuing silence


  July 4th, a day we celebrate in the U.S.A. by making as much noise as possible.
  It strikes me that the fireworks we enjoy so much on Independence Day, are a mimicry of the sounds of warfare. "...rockets' red glare... ", " ...bombs bursting in air..."
  I wonder if the sounds of fireworks are as pleasing to all of those that have heard similar noises on the actual battlefields of very real wars.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

continuing silence


  Orfield Laboratories informed me via email that i couldn't spend any time alone in their anechoic chamber ("the quietest place in the world") unless i was representing a major media outlet. I was told the only way i could experience it was to be part of a tour group.
  Creating an absolutely quiet environment is an amazing feat. Keeping a tour group quiet is an impossible one.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

continuing silence


  I visited an art gallery recently. It was one large space where quite a few pieces by different artists were hanging side by side.
  One piece consisted of a video with accompanying soundtrack that played continuously on a 20" monitor hung on the wall. The video was quite good as were many of the other works on display. However, the video went from quite good to relentlessly monotonous the longer i lingered in the gallery. The sound of it endlessly playing over and over as i tried to enjoy the other artworks soon became unbearable.
  I can stand in front of a great piece of Art literally, for hours. My eyes never tire of drinking in the sublime excellence of quality Artwork.
  My ears do not have that kind of patience, however. Maybe they are atrophied by years of neglect. One result of this is that i've never developed any real appreciation for music, although i believe it to be a valid and complex Art form. All my energy is devoted to seeing things, perhaps at the expense of my other senses. Every part of me is in my vision.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

continuing silence


  Being a jerk is similar in many ways to being an alcoholic. Jerks tend to be loud, and are oblivious to the way their selfish, subjective, behavior annoys those around them. Once you've been a jerk for an extended period of time, you are a jerk for life. Although, you may learn to gain control over the condition once you've recognized the problem.
  I personally, have learned to second guess everything i say and do. I have to be careful, because often my first reaction in a given situation is the subjective, "jerky" one. Quiet reflection has become an essential aid in this aspect of "rehabilitation".
  I envy the people who look back on their younger years with warm nostalgia. I now objectively look back on mine with revulsion and regret. While guilt and regret can easily turn self indulgent and morbid, they can also be a great starting point to realizing a different approach to life is required if one ever expects to find peace.

Monday, June 30, 2014

continuing silence


  There are 3 kinds of people in the world.
  The first kind go through life thinking only of themselves. "I want what I want, screw everyone else." These people are in general, "jerks".
  The second kind do "good" things because it makes them feel good about themselves. They strive for a positive self image.
  The third kind do "good" things because, to them, it's instinctual. They've never known any other way of living. They do the "right" thing, by nature.
  It's possible to be a mostly first kind of person and become a mostly second kind, and vice versa. But neither the first kind or second kind can ever become the third kind of person.
  Most of us are a variable mix of the first and second kind of person. I myself, was primarily a first kind, for a very long time.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

continuing silence


  The vast majority of humanity see themselves as basically "good". We think we perceive things as they really are and that we are the "good guys (or girls)" in the story.
  But what if we're actually not?
  Adolph Hitler didn't think to himself, "I am going to be the most despicable person in human history." He thought of himself as a savior and a patriot. Stalin too. These are of course, extreme examples, but the basic idea applies to the the point being made.
  Many of us commit little "evils" throughout our lives. But we justify them in one way or another because we feel that deep down we're really "good", so anything we could do isn't really all that bad.
But when viewed objectively, these self justifications (or rationalizations) are utterly absurd and insidiously delusional.
  We human beings are a conceited and arrogant species. We declare ourselves to be the height of evolution, and proceed to exploit every other living thing on the planet (including each other). We create a god in our own image that only allows us into heaven (if we belong to the right religion and/or country). This god conveniently forgives all of our sins. Any real "evil" in the world is blamed on someone else, or a guy in a red leisure suit who carries a pitchfork. It certainly couldn't be our fault.
  If there indeed is a god, she/he/it is probably more like a Black Lab than a human being. I've never met a Black Lab that was anything but delightful.
  What i'm getting at is, what if you aren't as funny, smart, cute, wonderful and "good" as you think you are? What if you've been subjectively deluded all this time? What if, when examined objectively, you're really not that "good" after all?
 I know about this kind of jarring self realization because... i'm a jerk.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

continuing silence


  A while back, i was working out at the gym when it hit me. The noxious aroma of virulent b.o. Annoyed by this assault on my nose, i glared around in search of the culprit. My baleful gaze fell upon the sweaty patron hefting weights nearby. I decided to try and continue my workout in another area of the club, as far away from this slob's stink as possible.
  Settling in on another machine, i began my set and was instantly set upon by the low tide stench of more nasty b.o. It was then i noticed that i was in close proximity to yet another sweaty member.
  "What is with this place?", i fumed to myself. "Doesn't anyone believe in roll-on anymore?"
  I quickly beat a hasty retreat to another area of the gym. There was someone nearby, but they appeared dry and of no potential threat, stink-wise. Much to my angry dismay, pungent air soon accosted my nasal passages again. In my fury i thought, "This guy reeks too! People are so inconsiderate! Everywhere i go it frigging stinks!! I really should say something, but i'll keep quiet. Maybe i will say something...."
  Then suddenly, the truth of the situation finally dawned on me,  "oh.....crap....."

Monday, June 23, 2014

continuing silence

  Six months have elapsed since i started my attempt at a year of silence. There have been a couple slips of the tongue and one emergency situation, but overall i have remained quiet.
  The halfway point is always my favorite part of any art project i undertake.
  I don't like beginnings. They are always so tentative and uncertain. The majority of the time, i wind up going back and fixing the first clumsy missteps of fledgling endeavors.
  Finishing a project is never a joyous occasion for me either. Endings always leave me feeling bereft. Upon completing a piece i am left empty and without purpose.
  But being midway through something is a magical time. It's at that moment i become certain of an art project's viability. I step back and scrutinize it, to determine its value and quality. If i'm lucky, at that instant, a euphoric rush of purposeful resolve overtakes me. The piece begins to take on a life of its own. My hands become the tools of its intention, not my own. Under the will of something better than myself, with the furies of uncertainty utterly banished, i joyously work towards the artwork's completion, knowing what i'm doing is "right".
   Many weeks ago, however, i came to the realization that this endeavor in silence did not meet the standard to be called art. So what is this ongoing quiet, and why do i continue?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

continuing silence


  There is no silence in nature. Even without the human clamor, nature makes its own noise.
  When i was walking in the woods i heard continuous bird calls, small animal chatter, and the drone of insects. These were not obtrusive sounds, however. These noises seemed biologically rhythmic, a kind of swell of life. As opposed to the synthetic crash and boom of peopled environments.
  We human beings are like the noisy residents of a big apartment complex. We're constantly renovating and throwing loud parties, not caring how it upsets all the other tenants. Not to mention, how it brings down the property values.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

continuing silence


  It started to rain pretty hard. I noticed that the windows were down on my friend's car, so i rushed inside to warn him that it was raining.
  I didn't have my pen and paper, so i gesticulated wildly, trying to get the message across before his car interior was soaked. Slowly he deciphered the message.
    "...... falling..."
    ".... outside..."
    "... it's falling outside..."
    "... it's raining outside...."
    "......sh#t, my car!"
  Except for the expletive, it was very similar to one of those old episodes of "Lassie".

Thursday, June 19, 2014

continuing silence


  The song of the ice cream truck. Bright and joyful in childhood. A cloying nuisance with maturity.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

continuing silence


  When emergency sirens blare, we look to those around us in order to formulate an appropriate response. Studio crowds that respond on cue, in turn let us know when to laugh or applaud.
  The vociferous behavior of others plays an integral part in the crowd hypnosis of individuals. Whether an event is rapturous or riotous is dictated by the prevailing group mentality.
  People that have taken part in the frenzied adoration of popular celebrities and powerful political figures, as well as those that have participated in uproarious mob destruction, all have something in common. When interviewed months after the occurrence, they almost unanimously report that they were caught up in the exciting upheaval of the moment, and that they just went along with everyone else.
  Social psychology studies have proven that we humans are far easier to convince of something, no matter how absurd, when in a tumultuous group setting rather than when we are alone and calm.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

continuing silence


  I was consciously silent in my dreams last night.
  As long as i can remember, i've often been aware in my dreams. Most of the time, i'll seize the opportunity and attempt to fly.
  I used to try and talk to the people i would encounter while dreaming. I would attempt to ask them questions. But i soon figured out that it was just a different way of talking to my self.
  Last night, i was quiet. The dream people attempted to make conversation with me, but i wouldn't speak. While i sleep, silent awareness has become my priority.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

continuing silence


  I have inadvertently developed my own form of "sign language". I have gestures that i use to express certain things, and they seem quite effective. However, i'm sure it would seem like pig-latin to someone who actually knows how to sign.
  I have begun to learn the real sign language, and i'm sure in the long run it will prove far more subtle and intricate than my spasmodic gesticulations. I wonder if my made up gesturing would be considered "noisy" and abrasive to someone who speaks sign language...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

continuing silence


  Today i heard from half the people who've read this blog. She said that she didn't think it had failed with the flood phone call, and that she applauded what i was attempting to do.
  I've been spending so much time rattling around upstairs in the attic, that i've forgotten how nice it is to hear someone ring the doorbell.

Monday, June 9, 2014

continuing silence


  The noise you make when you're ill no longer inspires sympathy from others. It is considered to be a kind of warning beacon. Stay away, or they might risk getting sick themselves.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

continuing silence


  What started as a strident whispered exchange between the two girls seated in front of us, soon turned into a hands over the mouth, desperately stifled giggling. As with any boiling pot, trying to put a lid on it only makes it explode... Soon they were shaking with paroxysms of laughter.
  The quiet darkness of the theater scowled at them, and they laughed even harder. On the bloated screen, the costarring explosions and gun fire fought for the girls attention, but were soundly beaten by the tears of hilarity running down their cheeks.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

continuing silence


  I have heard nothing back in response to my email inquiries regarding booking time inside the anechoic chamber at Orfield Labs. It would be an inconvenient irony if the only way to spend some time in "the quietest place in the world", would be by making a reservation over the phone.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

continuing silence


  Even the most pleasant sounds become annoying with repetition.
  A favorite song turns monotonous when heard too many times.
  An amusing joke becomes tedious with retelling.
  A parent's reassuring voice during childhood, turns into a nagging annoyance upon the arrival of adolescence.
  Knock on the door more than a few times and change from welcome guest, into dreaded nuisance.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

continuing silence


  When i traveled to Russia a few years back, i remember that almost no one spoke English. Getting directions or assistance of any kind was a drawn out and sometimes difficult affair. Often people would just ignore me altogether because they had neither the time nor the inclination to deal with an annoying tourist. Rather than being frustrated by this aspect, i actually enjoyed it immensely.
  Being in Russia gave me a taste of invisibility. Many times in my life i have wanted to posses the power of invisibility. To become invisible is to free oneself from the public eye. The general public can't get anything from you when they can't understand you, so you become marginalized, unseen. When you cannot understand what other people are saying, you become impervious to any of their narrow thinking and caustic derision, thereby enjoying a kind of sound invisibility.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

continuing silence


  It was a great performance and everyone applauded, except me.
  The loud clapping turned into a standing ovation. I stood up, yet remained quiet.
  There was a curtain call and the adulation became uproarious. Standing there noiselessly, i watched the tumult rise and fall around me.
  As the crowd began to depart, the exiting murmur was a kind of silence all its own. Underneath it i heard someone say, "What was up with the weirdo who was next to you?"

Saturday, May 31, 2014

continuing silence


  I have decided that i'm going to attempt to learn, at least some, sign language. Any way of communicating that is silent appeals to me. I (used to) conversationally speak a couple different languages, besides my own, and i look forward to learning the basics of another. I'm sure i will mangle syntax and appear idiotic, but that has almost become a lifestyle for me at this point.
  I can't afford classes, so i will quietly learn through instructional books.
  As mentioned before, this is not an attempt to experience the world like someone with a hearing impairment. I will continue to let people know i can hear them... loud and clear.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

continuing silence


  Apparently, the quietest place on earth is an anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota.  
  The loudest, is any Dave and Buster's on the planet.
  Quotes i've read about the Orfield chamber scream, "(It) will drive you insane...!", "No one can last longer than 45 minutes!", etc, etc. The human fear of silence made tangibly real.
  Since artificial lights make noise, it is necessary to be in total darkness while in this sound proof room. In essence, it is a large sense deprivation chamber, so there is a possibility of experiencing panic, hallucinations and imaginings of all kinds while inside it.
  I really want to go there. I wonder how much it costs to rent some time....?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

continuing silence


  The loudest person is usually the one that stays at the party the longest.

Monday, May 26, 2014

continuing silence


  My favorite part about going to parties and bars, is leaving them.
  The music is a grinding thrum without pause, the crowds sound like milling geese at a park, and the designer fragrances are overpowering.
  The breezy night on the other side of the exit door is far too inviting to ignore.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

continuing silence


  Once a week he pulls up to the row of garages outside my window. The stereo is forever pounding out a steady rhythm inside his always heavily loaded, oversize pickup truck.
  The music plays continuously, as he shuts off the engine and opens the door to his private garage. The space is packed floor to ceiling with the kind of things that are left at a flea market late on a Sunday afternoon. The noisy rhythm continues, as he unloads the well used items from the back of the truck and places them with jigsaw puzzle precision into the nooks and crannies of the great mass. Sometimes he has to remove things and rearrange in order to fit more, but every week he somehow manages it. Nothing is ever discarded.
  Eventually the weekly ritual is complete, and he pulls away in his truck with the stereo ceaselessly beating.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

continuing silence


  I have learned that there are many kinds of silence.
  There is the peaceful silence that surrounds you when you ride your bicycle.
  There is the absolute silence in a sister's reaction to your latest body of artwork.
  There is the relative silence to be found in New York City.
  There is the relentless silence of those that are lost.

Friday, May 23, 2014

continuing silence


 I go through life perpetually feeling like i'm at someone else's class reunion. Now that i am silent this feeling is stronger than ever.
  I am an aardvark in the monkey cage. The monkeys are stacking the boxes to get the bananas, noisily playing together, and finding suitable mates.
  ...and i sit here being an aardvark.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

continuing silence


  I don't miss bellowing in anger, saying "ouch" or picking up the phone and saying "hi".
  I only miss talking to Oscar. He is my best friend, mentor and role model. I have learned everything from him and he continues to teach me so much. I feel like my silence is somehow shortchanging him.
  The funny thing is, my silence doesn't seem to bother him in the least. He has always walked many steps in front of me. I think he knew my noise was completely unnecessary long before i did.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

continuing silence


  The city went to great expense revamping the severe weather siren system. They made it so that wherever you are in the urban area, you can clearly hear it. To make sure the sirens function correctly, the system is tested once a month. Depending on where you are located, the siren wail can be excruciatingly loud.
  The weather was getting pretty wild, so i ducked in a store to avoid the rain. The siren goes off, and i want to crawl under the sales counter it's so painfully loud. One employee turns to the other and yells, "There goes the siren!", over the noise of the siren.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

continuing silence


  There are devices and relay systems available to those with hearing and speech impediments. Unfortunately, if i was to use the 711 phone service that is available to those individuals, i believe it would involve someone speaking for me at some point. Since this is substituting someone else's "noise" for my own, it is not an option. More importantly, i would not feel right using this kind of service, as i am not truly in "need" of it.
  Soooo....i had to drive 30 miles each way, to solve a billing problem that could have been easily solved by making a phone call.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

continuing silence


  The man in front of the counter had forms scattered in front of him and he was furious. The postal worker apologized and said there was nothing she could do until the mail carrier showed up on Monday and she could ask him about the situation.
  His face flamed red and he began to yell. The postal employee remained calm, her face as blank as an empty chalkboard. He roared louder. She said nothing further. His tirade was a wildfire confronting a mountain of granite.
  He whirled and sputtered, then began to fizzle and smoke as she just sat there, impervious to the now diminishing blaze. Finally he gathered his papers and went out, allowing the post office to fall back into the quiet of a Saturday afternoon.
  "Next" said the mountain, smiling at me.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

continuing silence


  My silence is not a withdrawal into myself as many have surmised. It is rather a denial of myself in order to more objectively view everyone and everything around me.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

continuing silence


  "By not speaking aren't you severely limiting your means of self expression?"
  I think the person who asked me this question was referring to my silence and its effect on my art. To be honest, my interests lie purely in expression. I have no interest whatsoever in self expression.
Expression is pure, self expression is indulgence.  I have neither the inclination or the wealth to achieve the level of self expression prescribed by our modern culture.
  I have come to realize that much can be expressed with silence and i have lost very little by maintaining it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

continuing silence


  I was walking one of my furry charges when we came across two women sitting on a bench outside a senior's apartment complex. One of them called out to me, "Excuse me, what kind of dog is that?"
  I smiled and slowly mouthed the word, "Labradoodle" back to her.
  She looked perplexed and repeated her question three more times. Each repetition louder and more enunciated than the previous.
  I had forgotten my pad and pencil, so all i could do was quietly mouth Labradoodle in reponse to each inquiry.
  She finally turned to her friend and said, "I think he's some kind of dummy."
  I smiled, turned away, and my Labradoodle and i continued our walk.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

continuing silence


  My closest friends are the ones i never see.
  One such friend, who evidently has been reading these chronicles, left me the following message:
  "It's not a failure unless you give up."
  Leonardo da Vinci once wrote:
  "Art is never finished, only abandoned."
  With the exception of my apartmental poseidon adventure, i have maintained my silence. My experiment in quiet continues, as do the unique experiences that occur within it.

Sunday, May 4, 2014



  It started as a small drip from an old pipe leading up to the radiator in the apartment upstairs. I emailed the maintenance staff, as is the customary procedure in my apartment building. When it was summarily examined, i was assured it was no problem. Two weeks later, i walk in the door of my apartment and i'm greeted by a deluge falling from my living room ceiling. I had a choice, preserve the continuity of this year of silence and loose virtually every other artwork i've made (not to mention the danger of having the people upstairs come crashing down through a waterlogged floor) or place an emergency call. I quickly made the emergency call and shattered my 4 months of silence. I could have found someone else to make the call, but time was of the essence and the noise would have been the same anyway.
  I suppose a voice is handy to have in an emergency situation like the one i had. Many people think a gun is handy to have if their lives are threatened. Both are too noisy and potentially lethal for my taste.
  Artwork that has been labored over for countless hours can be ruined in an instant. A misplaced chisel strike can instantaneously destroy a statue. A mistake in the development time for a roll of film can utterly ruin the capture of an ephemeral moment that is now gone forever.
  I consider this piece a failure. Art is perfect, or it is crap.
  I will strive to continue my silence, and it may very well extend beyond a year, because i have come to love silence. I may continue to write ruminations on the subject in order to quietly purge them from my system.
  The failure of this piece has brought back that old uneasiness that has haunted me for most of my life. It's like the feeling you get when you're driving down the highway and you think you might have already passed your exit, but you just keep going anyway...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

a year of silence


  Freedom is lost through addition and gained by subtraction.
  In my silence, i no longer have to politely agree, talk about the weather, voice my opinion, demonstrate my know-how, provide an explanation, worry if i said the right thing, worry if i said the wrong thing, or have the burden of someone recognizing my voice.

Friday, April 25, 2014

a year of silence


  I used to have a professor who after making a contentious point, would pause a moment and wait for any rebuttal from the students attending his lecture. If no one spoke up, he would always say, "Silence is affirmation."
  He was a brilliant instructor and i think many of his students were in awe of him, and maybe a little intimidated as well. Those might have been the more likely reasons behind the silence, rather than absolute agreement to every idea he put forth.
  Silence isn't affirmation. It isn't withdrawal, anger, stupidity, death, or anything else for that matter. Silence isn't anything. It is the absence of something, and nothing more. Silence is subtraction in a society that emphasizes addition, and therefore is constantly misunderstood.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

a year of silence


  I am not a moaner or a groaner at the gym, but i am a bit of a gasper.
  While some people sound like they're filming an x rated movie when they work out, i tend to sound more like a loudly leaking tire. But since going silent, my breathing has gone from a gale force wind to a quieter, Darth Vaderesque pant.


  You may be trying to get across the most simple of ideas, yet your innocent pupil remains dumbfounded. You make repeated attempts, each successively louder and more impatient than the last. Finally, in angry frustration you scream at the futility of trying to teach to the hopelessly stupid.
  But don't give up! They will eventually learn! ........to stay as far away from you as possible.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

a year of silence


  Whenever i visit the local Art museum, i inevitably am given an impromptu honor guard accompaniment. It might be my appearance, my silence, or my suspicious habit of lingering over a single piece for more than 2 minutes, that accords me this accolade. Ironically, i'm the last person on earth who would do harm to any Artwork, but there never seems to be more than 6 feet between myself and at least one security person during every visit.
  I wouldn't mind all this flattering attention, except that the security guards always seem to be the noisiest people in the gallery. They chat amongst themselves about ball games and dinner plans as they watch the suspiciously quiet, yet overly enthusiastic patron planted in front of the Jackson Pollock. I recently had one guard literally do laps around me and a Vincent Van Gogh, in his squeaky shoes, nonstop, for over half an hour.
  Perhaps one of the prerequisites for becoming an Art museum security guard is a complete lack of appreciation for fine Art. After all, you don't want your staff staring at the Artwork all day. You want their undivided attention on the weirdo who's been standing in front of the Dali for (heavens to betsy) over an hour.
  I realize it is important that great Art be protected, but it also is meant to be thoroughly explored and savored, so ear plugs and patience have become essential items for a happy museum experience.

Monday, April 21, 2014

a year of silence


  I was recently over a friend's house for dinner. As is her family's custom, a moment of silent prayer was observed before the meal. After the obligatory silence her young son, who was seated to my right, turned to me and said, "You breathe really loud."
  He was gently chastised by his mother for making the observation. But he was right, i do breathe really loud...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

a year of silence


  I thought that at this point in my year of silence, i would be dying to talk again. I assumed i would have so much to say, that the tension of restraint would have been steadily building as the months passed. But just the opposite is true.
  My silence has been a great blanket of snow that fell over night. Many people see it as an inconvenience that slows down the commute, but i love snow. It covers the broken branches, dead leaves and bits of trash from previous days. It muffles noise and makes everything coldly, quietly, beautiful.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

a year of silence


  I speak nearly every night in my dreams. Speaking has become a mechanism by which i recognize that i am indeed dreaming and that i am asleep.
  It is not part of any deep desire on my part to start talking again, no such desire exists. I think it's similar to those dreams where i find myself out in public completely naked. At first i'm embarrassed and self conscious, then part of me that realizes that everything isn't "right", that it's absurd. When i start to really think about it, it causes me to wake up. With a great sense of relief, i reassure myself that it never really happened.

Friday, April 18, 2014

a year of silence


  Side Effect #2-
I can no longer buy ANYTHING unless i can eat it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

a year of silence


  One side effect of my year in silence is that i'm riding my bicycle a lot more. This was initially done out of economic necessity rather than as an effort to make my day to day transportation more quiet.
  When you attempt to make art, unexpected things often happen. Sometimes bad things, like financial obliteration or unwanted police presence. Sometimes good things, like a kind review or a life altering discovery.
  I didn't realize how noisy the world was until i started to be quiet. I didn't realize how much i hated driving a car until i started riding my bicycle.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a year of silence


  My birthday was yesterday. After we're born it takes a couple years before we start talking. It's usually about 80 years before we finally shut up.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

a year of silence


  Sometimes an intimate discussion amongst a small group of friends can take on a frenetic pace all it's own. Like an errant passenger bus that suddenly takes a different route. Ignoring the usual stops, in search of a new destination, the conversation rolls faster and faster. To interrupt the pace by ponderously mouthing ideas or by attempting to feverishly write responses, would be asking the bus to pull over so you can kick the tires.
  So i settle for looking out my window, watching as each tantalizing context flies by.

Monday, April 14, 2014

a year of silence


  The last thing i want to know is how other people feel about me. But when you don't speak, many people assume you don't hear. So when your back is turned (literally) they freely vocalize their opinions on your hair, age, personality and rear end.
  So far i haven't heard much that has inspired me to make any personal alterations. I'm not going to cut my hair, i can't lower my age, i will not enroll in charm school, and i despise the stair stepper.
  I am comforted by the fact that so far, no one has said i talk too much.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

a year of silence


  Being silent in social situations such as crowded bars or parties, has resulted in a pretty predictable pattern of behavior from the people i encounter.
  I am treated much like an initially interesting item on the buffet table. At first, i am given a quick visual appraisal to ascertain whether i am worth trying or not. Then comes the cautious approach, followed by the tentative sample to see if i'm pleasing to the taste. When i am subsequently judged to be too bland, salty, cold or beyond my freshness date, i am abandoned for another dish with a little more spice.
  So, all in all, pretty much nothing has changed from before i went silent...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

a year of silence


  My ongoing silence has given an almost surreal quality to daily life. Sometimes it feels like a giant picture book is being held up directly in front of me. There are moments when i'm just about to glimpse around the edge, but then the book is thrust back into my face again.

Friday, April 11, 2014

a year of silence


  The clamor of leaf blowers provides the horn section in a noisy fanfare to the arrival of spring.
  The use of these excruciating devices is a prime example in the art of intentional suburban futility. More than once, i have observed someone diligently blasting leaves and grass clippings from a well tended lawn onto an adjacent street. Within days (sometimes hours) the offending compost has blown back onto the grass of its original home or that of a neighboring house, where it is eventually loudly expelled back into the street yet again.
  This ritual will be repeated ad nauseam until the first snow momentarily quells the absurd cycle.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

a year of silence


  After reading the previous entries concerning my trip to New York, it my seem as if i'm experiencing paradise-itis. A condition whereupon a vacation spot takes on a utopian quality in the tourist's mind. Rest assured, i did not fall prey to this subjective delusion. New York City, like any other place, has redeeming qualities as well as deleterious ones. It is just up to the individual to choose which aspects to dwell on.
  But i can say unequivocally, that in my case, wandering the streets of Manhattan while peering out from my glass jar with the loose lid, proved much more enjoyable than striding around in a suit of armor with a bull horn pressed to my lips.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

a year of silence


New York Cont.

  It was around lunch time and the Museum of Modern Art gift shop was busy and loud. The salesperson behind the counter looked like she'd had more than enough busy and loud for one day.
  I had resigned myself to the fact that prints of a painting i loved were out of stock and waited in line clutching a couple of postcards. When it was finally my turn, i approached her and placed my cards on the counter. She barely cracked a smile and murmured a perfunctory hello. When i let her know that i could hear but didn't speak, i could almost swear she looked relieved.
  In a last ditch effort to locate the elusive print, i looked imploringly into her face and soundlessly mouthed the title of the painting asking where a print could be found. It was a french title, but the salesperson instantly understood the painting i was referring to. She nodded quietly to me and a small smile cracked the left side of her face. She made a gesture for me to follow her and suddenly dashed from behind the counter. We then quietly weaved through the crowded store together, neither of us uttering a sound. It was as if we were small fish darting under water as a storm raged on the surface. It wasn't long before she triumphantly pulled a print of the painting i was searching for out of an anonymous bin. I was obviously ecstatic, and i could almost swear my silent partner looked as happy as i was.
  We stealthily made our way back to the checkout counter where my salesperson rang up the purchases. I silently thanked her profusely. She soundlessly mouthed back, "My pleasure.", giving me a small goodbye wave. As i turned around and started to make my way out, another customer approached her counter and loudly exclaimed, "It's a real mad house in here today!".

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

a year of silence

New York Cont.

  I didn't yell. I didn't even hold my arm up. All i did was nod my head and he pulled that cab over to the curb as if i'd been waving a stack of hundreds. I instantly admired him. I find people that are extremely good at what they do to be fascinating. He was talking at 800 miles per hour before i even got in the car.
  The cabbie had asked me 3 times where i wanted to go before he realized i wasn't talking. A brief look of consternation passed over his face until i held up my note pad with the word "Guggenheim" scrawled on it. He gave me a thumbs up and shot into traffic.
  "Do you speak english ?", he asked looking in the rear view mirror. I gave him my standard, i don't speak but i can hear gestures, and received another thumbs up.
  His banter decreased in pace and volume with every stop light. Traffic was slow and long before we reached the museum he petered out completely, leaving us both in silence for a good portion of the trip.
  I don't know what exactly happened, but he accidentally brought me to the Metropolitan Museum instead of the Guggenheim. I didn't gesture or say anything as the cab driver, realizing his mistake, began to chuckle to himself. He then shut off the meter and maneuvered us back towards the Guggenheim.
  When we arrived i paid him, and smiling, he gave me a quiet thumbs up. He then reached through the separation between us, to shake my hand before i got out.

Monday, April 7, 2014

a year of silence


  New York, 4/2 - 4/6

  "A fool is only a fool until he realizes what he is."
  Apparently, i have yet to fully engage my "blank slate" approach to life. I subjectively assumed N.Y. would be hectic and noisy, the people too rushed to indulge someone without a voice. I expected to be pushed to the side and ignored by its busy populace. I have been to New York many times before i became silent, and these hastily drawn assumptions were based on those previous experiences.
  Manhattan is indeed busy, and its mechanizations grind and howl almost nonstop. But there were palpable lulls in the buzz saw hum, that were so much more prominent because of it.
  Almost every person i came into contact with was helpful, friendly and consciously chose to join me in silence, for however brief an instant. From the subdued cab driver who insisted on shaking my hand as i departed his vehicle, to the sales person at the MOMA gift shop who quietly walked away from the busy checkout throng to personally find a print of one of Picasso's Masterpieces for me. These, and many other kindnesses, were almost always performed in reciprocal, smiling, silence.
  Without my braying voice and tangled, clamorous preconceptions, New York became a wonderful and "peaceful" place. Noise perpetuates noise, and silence perpetuates silence.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

a year of silence


  I am leaving for New York City early tomorrow morning. I couldn't ask for a better experiment in contrasts.

Monday, March 31, 2014

a year of silence


  I have lost what were probably my last fitness training clients. Who could blame them? No one wants a mime for a personal trainer. It was really nice of them to even give it a try. I sincerely hope to retain them as friends.
  Pretty much all i have for income now are the dogs i take care of. How i love working with them! They are always delighted to see me, which is a nice change from the resigned dread a fitness trainer is usually greeted with. Not one of them seems to have noticed my becoming silent. As long as i smell consistently the same and provide a generous supply of treats, they are my friends for life. Best of all, while i am obliged to pick up their crap, they never give me any.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

a year of silence


  Whenever i'm with people for any length of time, they usually remember me as having "said" this or that, even though i never actually spoke. When i'm alone, the words in my head are so pronounced that i sometimes have to reassure myself that i didn't speak them out loud.
  After years of hearing something, we tend to keep hearing it even after it's gone. Like an amputee can feel pain in a limb that's no longer there.
  How long will it take the silence to establish itself? When does it become the norm instead of an aberration?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

a year of silence


  So much in human relationships is based on reciprocation. When we offer a hand in greeting, we expect one in return. Often, we will cease to love if we are not loved back. Our work declines if there is no reward. We don't leave people voice messages if there is no chance of a return call.
  I have received 2 voice mails since i began this project 3 months ago. Both were from a doctor's office concerning a procedure i had to have.
  I have a close friend that lives out of state, who used to call me at least once a week and leave lengthy and entertaining phone messages. I used to reciprocate far less often, with less lengthy and far less entertaining messages of my own. Due to a time difference and busy schedules, we rarely were able to actually converse. Now that i am silent, and my infrequent return messages are reduced to nil, the entertaining voice mail has ceased. I miss those phone messages.
  I'm afraid my year in silence has been interpreted as a wish to sever ties or at the very least viewed as a selfish discourtesy. Neither is true (as far as i'm consciously aware).
  To expect unconditional love is unrealistic and i'm very doubtful such a thing even exists (except possibly, between parent and child). When someone tells you they love you, they mean right now. Do not take anything for granted.

Friday, March 28, 2014

a year of silence


  Keeping your mouth shut:
  Prevents your hair from getting in it on windy days.
  If you have bad breath, no one will ever know.
  Nobody makes fun of your accent.
  No one "shhhh's" you.
  You don't worry about food being stuck in your teeth.
  You will never be overheard saying something bad.
  Thinking to yourself, "i wish i'd said..." is now a moot point.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

a year of silence


  Many of the people i cross paths with treat me like i'm mentally challenged in some way. I wonder if people who have actual physical impairments experience this kind of behavior?
  When people realize i do not speak, their voices and manner often take on a sympathetic, almost condescending air. They frequently smile, speak slowly and simply, proffering a thumbs up accompanied with a kind nod. I am not offended by this charitable tone. Although misguided, it is well intended. We all tend to pity those we perceive to be "less fortunate" than ourselves.
  Mentally challenged........what a relative term. Maybe i am mentally challenged? Maybe i have been all my life and never realized it until now. I honestly feel just about everyone is mentally challenged in one way or another, we just aren't aware of it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

a year of silence


  It's been around 3 months of silence so far.
  You know that feeling you get.....when you're driving down the highway, and you think that maybe  you've already passed your exit? .......but you keep on driving anyway?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

a year of silence


  Dumb \adj - 4a: not willing to speak
                       6: markedly lacking in intelligence : exasperatingly obtuse

Monday, March 24, 2014

a year of silence


  Everything is so loud now... I find myself using earplugs more and more frequently.
  Actually, the smart thing to do would be to expose myself to noise more often, instead of trying to avoid it. It always seems that when you dislike or are afraid of something, the secret is to immerse yourself in it, not run away from it. When you saturate yourself with something you disdain, you either build up a resistance to it, or learn to appreciate it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

a year of silence


  Yesterday, a friend told me that when she is with me she feels loud, and that makes her uncomfortable.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

a year of silence


  When you voluntarily categorize yourself as belonging to one group or another for the sake of communal comfort and companionship, you are placing shackles on your mind. I am guilty of doing this by declaring myself to be an artist.
  Everyone carries around this preconceived notion of what an artist is. I consciously and subconsciously try to fit myself into my own notion of what an artist should be. By doing this i am limiting myself by attempting to utilize some kind of guidelines by which to conduct my life.
  I will no longer be female or male, black or white, heterosexual or homosexual, american or chinese, catholic or buddist, left or right. I will not follow any prescribed ideology for my own ease and comfort, or that of anyone else. I will not be anything, i'll just be. A slate has to be blank in order to write on it.

Friday, March 21, 2014

a year of silence


  Ideologies, rule books and preconceptions are intellectually lazy ways of confronting the world. It is much easier to rely on quick subjective preconceptions based on a mental checklist, than it is to form an objective view using cognition. We use labels to judge and categorize everyone conveniently, instead of trying to empathize with individual context.
  I am running into this kind of thinking again and again as my year of silence continues. I am observed and summarily labeled rude and/or "weird" by countless people who make snap judgments about my behavior without even looking into my face, much less taking taking a moment to discover why i am not vocally responding to them.
  I have experienced this kind of bias, based on my perceived "odd" appearance and behavior, long before i ever started this project. In one respect, it is a great source of insight. I think it is good thing for a white male to personally experience some form of prejudice during their lives.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

a year of silence


  I am in the process of trying to make my motorcycle more quiet. This is in direct opposition to many people's idea of what being a motorcyclist is all about.
  I can understand modifying your motorcycle so that it makes more noise in order to make people more aware of your presence. When i'm riding a no-door, pretty much just engine and wheels vehicle, i feel a lot safer when i'm sure people know i'm there. I would rather have car drivers annoyed and aware, than undisturbed and unobservant.
  But having a loud bike would be contrary to my endeavor in silence, so muffling the noise is essential right now.
  Many of my friends who ride are aghast at what they consider to be my "selling out". These are primarily people who consider riding a motorcycle a lifestyle rather than just a form of transportation or an all consuming passion.
  I know people who eat, breathe, live and die for motorcycles. They create, work on, and ride the snot out of their bikes every minute of every hour of their lives. They have found a passion in life that they love and deeply believe in. That kind of devotion is worthy of envy.
  There are also those who consider their motorcycles an economical means of transportation and nothing more. As well as a few who ride bikes occasionally just for fun.
  There are also people who take up motorcycling because they see an image that they want to be. To them being a motorcyclist is wearing certain clothes and behaving a certain way. To deviate from their contrived motorcycle ideology is heresy of the worst kind. They deeply believe in an image, and to silence one's bike is to deviate from that image, and therefore completely unacceptable.