Sometimes I write with music, but most of the time I write in silence. The kind of silence that happens after my 5 yr old has gone to school during the day or after she’s gone to bed at night. I write in silence that happens when my husband is working in his office or is away for a few minutes around the corner, or a few days across the country. Delicious silence.

I write in silence because of an old car. I enjoy the silence because of the way I grew up.

It was already an old car when I got it. I couldn’t tell you the year, I didn’t pay attention to those sorts of things back then. It was my mother’s current boyfriend’s car and his name was Richard. It was a Starlet; a Toyota, I believe. A tin-can of a thing, bright red with persistently flat tires, and no radio. I think someone had installed a rather nice radio/tape deck at some point, but it was immediately stolen, so no one had ever bothered again.

I had a job at a wallpaper factory. I rolled wallpaper borders, which were all the rage. People went gaga for them. And so this company I worked for took regular size rolls of wallpaper and cut them down into thin little strips, then myself and about eight or nine other gals would roll those strips right back up again, and they would sell them back to the wallpaper stores. It was a nice little business.

I lived about 45 minutes away from the wallpaper factory at the time, so there was plenty of opportunity to sit and reflect upon the day during my commute. At first it was torturous to go without music for more than five minutes, let alone almost an hour, but it didn’t take long for me to get used to the silence, then to learn to enjoy it. Even begin to relish it.

I grew up in a ‘difficult’ household, which included an element common to most ‘difficult’ households – yelling. Lots and lots of yelling. And crying, and pleading, and not a short amount of begging. So to be exposed to 45 minutes of sheer silence, with nothing but the sound of the wind and the tires, and the freedom of a hard days work behind me, well, it was a good thing.

So I’ve learned to love the silence; to write without music or TV, hearing only the sounds of my clock and keyboard as I try to sling one more word after another. I can’t say that my way is better than anyone else’s – it’s just the way that I do things. The way I learned it from a little red Starlet, driving back and forth to work.

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