Welcome to second post of the Youth and Other Fictions blog tour on this blog! Today I have a guest post and giveaway. For a review of the book, see my previous post.
Jonathan M. Cook has kindly written a post on finding inspiration.
Most Sundays, I have wings for dinner: boneless, spun in Spicy Garlic, chased with an ice-cold Killian’s. I do this almost ritualistically, to the point where most of the hostesses will simply tell me to take my seat and the servers will ask “A tall Killian’s today?” as I pass by their station. Weather permitting, I sit on the patio, at the corner table, safely behind a wide stone pillar. The music is turned down. Ranch dressing and celery sticks are automatically added to my order. During my wait, I read on my Kindle.
Yes, I sit alone.
If Virginia could say that a woman needs her own room, the very least I can suggest is time to eat and ponder the universe alone, because life too often denies us any semblance of quiet. The perpetual noise of the Real World, the constant drone of people and cars and elevators and keyboards and heels, offers little in the way of respite. Consider how many people who used to go on vacation with the expressed purpose of cutting off all telecommunication
are now bound to their cell phones, enslaved by omnipotent ringtones. Consider how often lunch breaks are interrupted by banal conversations with co-workers who simply cannot stand the idea of enjoying their food in silence. Are we really too busy to be silent, or are we just looking for ways to avoid it? What is it about silence that so unnerves the American populace? Why this almost compulsive need to fill silence with trivialities?
It has been said that American creativity is on an overall decline. Sure, David Lynch and David Fincher continue to direct movies, Paul Auster and Cormac McCarthy continue to write novels, and Philip Glass and Trent Reznor continue to compose music, but a country’s aesthetic successes cannot be judged solely by its geniuses. Do we promote creativity and sufficiently deep thinking in our classrooms? I’d love to say yes, but that would be disingenuous; teachers have too much to juggle as is with No Child Left Behind and state standards. Is our nightly television offering us thought-provoking material? Judging from Mad Men, Lost, and Breaking Bad, I’dhave to say Americans have become the worst kind of thinkers: superficial thinkers who desperately want to believe they’re deep thinkers.
Who is at fault here?
I blame anyone who does not take a moment of silence now and then. I do not mean a moment to smell the roses, though there is something to be said for admiring the natural world, nor do I mean stopping to commune with your higher power—after all, there’s only one real deity and the odds are squarely against yours being it. I mean taking a moment to actually let the world fade away, to lose yourself in quiet, to become one with the Tao.
Odd choice of words coming from a Roman Catholic—go Pope Benedict!—yet still it moves: accept that if there is noise, there must be silence; if there is good, there must be evil; if there is activity, there must be idleness. All of life is composed of opposites, opposites that balance each other, opposites that give shape and definition to life. How can anyone understand what is good unless he/she understands what is not good? Grandparents are particularly fond of saying that life has its ups and downs, and rightly so; they’ve lived long enough and seen enough to know it’s true.
I say, go out, then, and eat alone! Go, sit by yourself in the patio section— skip the Singapore Slings with mescal on the side—and enjoy a quiet meal with only your thoughts for company. Offset some of that tireless god-eat-god
daily grind with some good ol’ silence.
Maybe you’ll find inspiration. Maybe you’ll rewrite classical physics. Maybe you’ll discover a cure for cancer. Maybe you’ll simply be a little bit happier.
Thanks so much! I feel strangely inspired to go eat. Check out the giveaway details after the break!
And now for the giveaway. I have one e-book to giveaway. The only entry is to leave a comment on this post letting me know what inspires you (and leave your contact info in the Rafflecopter widget).
This giveaway will run from December 9th to December 21st. Winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open internationally.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour. Thanks so much for stopping by, and good luck!