f you were to run into Anne LeClaire on April 6, she wouldn’t talk to you, said Anne Stein in the Chicago Tribune. Every first and third Monday of every month, the Chatham, Mass., novelist carries a card that reads, “I am having a day of silence.” Don’t expect to get through to her by phone, either. On those days she also refuses to listen to the radio, watch television, or surf the Internet. “My single determination when I began was not to speak,” she says of a practice she first undertook 16 years ago. “But the more comfortable I became with silence, the more I thirsted for it, and the sounds I’d accepted unquestionably became noise.”
In her new memoir, Listening Below the Noise, LeClaire admits that her experiment in playing mute at first annoyed her fisherman husband, said Julia McKinnell in Maclean’s. LeClaire points out now that her silence has saved him more spats than he knows. “How many times do we jump into an argument when, if we waited a day, our words would be tempered?” she says. Keeping mum apparently puts everything in perspective. “Much of what we think is urgent,” she says, “can wait a day or two.” She’s convinced that holding her tongue has also made her more creative and productive. Every day spent in silence is so energizing, she says, “I feel like I’ve been to a spa.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- 10 things you need to know today: March 10, 2014
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- The GOP must try to win over African-Americans
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
Subscribe to the Week