Sounds of Silence: Writing

After spending most of the Christmas break cocooned inside and eating far too much food, I took my bloated self out for a run. Mostly, I listen to music when I run but after the madness of the festive period, I decided to give my head a break. We’d had frost and fog for a couple of days straight and visibility couldn’t have been more than twenty metres.

Some studies have shown that when the visual senses are deprived, peripheral hearing centres in the brain become more sensitive. And whether it was this slight increase in auditory acuity or the atmospheric roll and tumble of mist over water, it got me thinking about the use of sound when writing. As I ran, the air drew sharp on the breath and the honk of geese bleat soulfully over the clouded Thames. Sounds that on another day would have sifted through my subconscious reached out at me through the veil of fog. Echoes distorted, so that an invisible child’s shout was an eerie call in the distance. My breathing was a shushing metronome, my trainers a squeaking crunch, my jacket a rustling beat. The ground squelched, sucked, twigs snapped, pebbles skittered then plopped into still water— an orchestra of sound to draw from, for my writing. I just had to unplug from my iPod to hear it.

Happy reading and writing!

On Twitter: @LivKiernan


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