As drills are to an athlete, or scales to a musician, practice paragraphs are to a writer.
Here’s a little sample of an idea I foraged from my notebook.
Feel free to remix it in the comments section.
The Disappearance of Noise
All of the clocks of my childhood are silenced into obscurity:
– the bedside alarm clocks in my grandparents’ bedroom, wound at the back
– the grandfather clock in the hall where time always seemed to move slower as I watched the pendulum arc back and forth, slicing the moment, shaving it second by second. The inscription, tempus fugit, the first Latin I learned, and didn’t understand the irony until I stood thirty years in the future.
– the clock on the mantle in Nanna and Grandpa’s house was more hurried, urgent, pacing the time to meet appointments, chiming the quarter hour in mimicry of Big Ben.
All of these sounds, the midnight soundtrack to treading the hallway carpet barefoot, its texture a fresh cut lawn, skipping to the cold tiles of the bathroom. And back again.
Now I lie awake and listen, in between the passing of cars at two o’clock in the morning, for the ticking of my watch. I know it’s battery operated, no longer the wind up mechanism of the watch of my youth. Finding it wound down to silence, bringing it back to life, then placing it to my ear to hear the cogs pushing and pulling.
It was the mechanical rhythm, a lullaby of space. The tut-tutting of disapproval for wasted time, the snap of Lego connecting and the skipping of Nan’s knitting needles.
The digital age has created silence.