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Silence, Writing, and Repair, Donna Baier Stein

Why? Because I needed silence. As a writer, as an introvert, I thrive on silence. I must have it. When I was young, I considered this a psychological flaw. Everyone around me was talking, not seeming to need to periodically retreat to renew. Today, I honor, understand, and yes, cultivate this need. I meditate. I live alone with a non-barking Boston terrier. And finally, at my current crone stage of life, I have enough of the silent cocoon around me to write. I believe that as a creative practice, writing, for most of us, must stem from silence. Adam Jaworski, in his book The Power of Silence, asks, “Is silence just the absence of noise, or is there something deeper that defines silence—something we’d do well to understand, contemplate and invite into our lives?”3 I don’t think this is a new question, but it may well be an increasingly pressing one as we wade through the onslaught of words contemporary culture thrusts upon us. Silent retreats have become an increasingly popular travel destination for people inundated with Facebook posts, Tweets, emails, and more.4 Whether a Jesuit-run center in Massachusetts or a Zen monastery in California, a mindfulness class at Omega Institute or a yogic breathing and asana getaway at Kripalu, such retreats can be welcome times of rejuvenation, of re-creation. Just eating a meal or taking a walk in silence can prime the creative pump. Even historically, before humans were inundated by thousands of words a day, there was a deep need and respect 3 Adam Jaworski, The Power of Silence. Sage Publications, 1992. p.115. 4 Michelle, Tuzee, “Silent Retreats Becoming Huge Travel Trend.” ABC7 News. February 2013.

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Profile for The Round

The Round, Fall 2014: Issue XI  

Enjoy the eleventh issue of "The Round," a literary and visual arts magazine based at Brown University in Providence, RI.

The Round, Fall 2014: Issue XI  

Enjoy the eleventh issue of "The Round," a literary and visual arts magazine based at Brown University in Providence, RI.

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