This week I have been thinking a lot about silence. I have been silent from the blog for a long time, but partly that is because I'm struggling to find silence in my life. There is little to be found in the city, yes, but even within the walls of my own house, where for me there is no place to run or hide from the noise of a young and active family. Even with the pair of ear protectors I bought (you know, the kind that jackhammer operators wear), it’s difficult to filter out the sounds of the household, the fact that Billy has been an ambulance siren nearly constantly for the past month, the tinkling notes of Grade 1 piano, and the intermittent drone of Radio 3. It is like living in a beehive, one where I am not the queen.
I came across this statement from David Ogilvy, founder of the ad agency of the same name, which highlights my problem: “Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret. Suddenly, if the telephone line from your unconscious is open, a big idea wells up within you."
When you freelance, as I do, and you love your family, as I do, and you work at home, as I do, how do you get anything done without free and easy access to the unconscious? Moreover, with the constant presence of a phone that contains 100% of my audio library, even the long walks and quiet interludes have their own backdrop of music or comedy podcasts, to help to pass the time. Speaking for myself I feel I have got out of the habit of silence in those interstitial times between here and there. My mind is stuffed brimful with information, too much sometimes to keep it all in place, but it’s the quietude to gain its access that I lack. How do you find a quiet place for yourself, within yourself, to have a good think? Or is that the plight of the modern helicopter parent, to no longer have two thoughts to rub together? I'm eager to hear suggestions, especially if you are a frazzled, working mother like myself, how you find a room of your own that is not the kitchen?