My daughter Emma and I just returned from a trip to New York City. There is an exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art devoted to the work of contemporary artist Frank Stella. I found a quote at the beginning and absorbed it as an affirmation to be a writer. “You can only take advantage of the gifts you really have – that are part of your character, and you are lucky to be born with those gifts…” Writing is my truest gift. But it comes with strict requirements. Not only do I have to be fearless, I have to listen to the noise.
While Emma and I were riding the train to the airport, I decided to quiet my mind and listen. The announcements were fierce. At one point, I felt myself fraying and covered my ears for a moment. In these instances, I know that a quiet life is essential. Without one I am required to drown out nearly everything. Words won’t rest on my palms or rush through my fingers.
As I practice listening, I learn that quiet is full of sounds. Sitting on the porch, I hear the busy life of birds, squirrels and insects. Makes you feel a little lazy. I watch the sun move remarkably quickly across the yard. It’s so efficient. The sunrise and sunset buffer the day. Apparently, this quiet life is going to be very engaging.
My home goods business Catherine’s Table has been a lot, lot, lot of work. The only noise I heard most days was a crow bar prying information from my vacuum-packed head. Some days I actually have trouble speaking. I was so bad at tracking inventory that I thought some part of my brain literally didn’t work. But I wouldn’t call myself a writer without this experience. I wrote this blog to support Catherine’s Table. Friends who read it gave me encouragement, and it has been my favorite part of the job. So here I go!