Sunday, March 15, 2009

Listening, Course 101

Spent the weekend mostly being quiet, listening to any of the following:
  • How the grinder sounds at Philz coffee in the Castro
  • The windchimes outside the bakery on 9th Avenue
  • The squeal and shift of the 6 and 33 on their overhead rails
  • The music of the prose of Isabel Allende
  • The hush of traffic while I walked to pick up laundry
  • The instruments of the Mission

Listening seemed important. I spent a year talking in this blog on a daily basis, and a series of months talking at work (there to no avail). Suddenly the well ran dry, with no pooling back of the water table, and I realized that someone was trying to tell me something. I could Shut Up & Write, I had proven that. But what to write about? Often, I felt as though I wrote to hear myself speak.

I love the sound and feel, warp and woof of words. But alliteration or assonance or lyricism for lyricism's sake was looking good and feeling empty. I am wonderfully capable of writing a readable first draft. The trick now was writing something that I wanted to take the time to shape.

To do that, I would have to start reaping the fruits of where I am.

So I listen to the City. I listen to the trains. I slow down and chew slowly on books, music, news of little attention.

Ssssshhhhhhhh...I can hear you, now.

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