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Colette Coen all the rest is silence Not talking is easy – all you do is say lots of words that don’t mean anything. Fill the silence with trivial facts; the voids with meaningless sounds. But you want me to explain why I won’t speak, to make your report full and complete. Are you all right Margaret? Can you hear us? Ok, here goes. Firstly I want to say that I am surprised that the social norm is that people communicate verbally, when you consider the number of times you say the wrong thing. The number of times you wish you could swallow your words; pull them back from the air before they reach ears and do damage. So many times I have found that a tone of voice, or an unfinished statement, has led to a quarrel: ‘Was that meant to be funny?’ ‘Would you let me finish.’ ‘I didn’t mean it like that.’ The damage is done. Trying to retract only makes the problem worse. Would it be easier if you wrote things down? I’ll give you some paper. People think that the written word is more damaging because it is more permanent, but if you give me some time I can make sure I am using the exact words and there is no room for you to forget when I apologise or add words to your memories that I didn’t say. Just pick up the pencil, Margaret, please try for me. My mother hated lying; it was forbidden in our house, and I don’t just mean that we couldn’t tell a fib if we had sneaked a biscuit, I mean ‘NO LYING’. I couldn’t blame my brother when the vase on the mantelpiece fell; I couldn’t say I didn’t remember when she asked how my tights got ripped. I had to tell the truth, and bear the consequences of a beaten bottom, or being called a tell-tale at school. 

Structo issue 15  
Structo issue 15  

Structo issue 15 features 11 short stories, 17 poems, a feature on cover design & an interview with the ex-poet laureate of North Korea Jang...

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