Menu

The Sound of Silence

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end we’re all storytellers. Writing Challenges help you push your…

  • Ready to write? We’ll give you a new challenge each Monday. Publish a new post on your blog that interprets the challenge. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end we’re all storytellers. Writing Challenges help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and styles.

To participate, read the challenge instructions and write at least one post in response. Tag your post with DPchallenge and include a link to this post to generate a pingback. Make sure your post has been specifically published in response to this challenge. We might just highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed, on our @postaday account on Twitter, or in our quarterly newsletter.

This week, we’re asking you to make “silence” a presence in your post. We promise, it’s not as counterintuitive as it sounds!

Silence, Zip It, Shh!

In our last class, my ever-creative yoga teacher gave her students one simple instruction: to remain silent. As we finished our session and pulled ourselves off our mats to make our way home, she reminded us of our challenge. “At least in the car ride home, no phone, no music, just silence,” she urged.

Uplifted after our class, I walked over the mounds of snow to open up my car door. I turned off the radio, buckled myself in, and put the car into gear. “Crap,” I said to myself out loud, “which way am I going again?” Two minutes after I’d left the yoga studio and I’d already failed at our challenge without even realizing it.

What’s Left Unsaid

As someone who enjoys spending time by myself, I find it funny to acknowledge that staying quiet can be just as hard as being talkative and outgoing. Silence, as many good quotes can attest, can be just as powerful as using words. In fact, one of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes speaks to just that point, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Even outside of our interactions with others, whether that be friends or in the context of a larger social struggle, that which is left unsaid can still tell us volumes. Books that leave the ending to the reader’s imagination, songs with meaningfully placed breaks, even moments with friends or family where you wished you’d told them how much you care. In it’s own way, the unsaid is a powerful way to send a message.

The Challenge

There are multiple ways of interacting with silence: purposefully leaving something unsaid, breaking the silence around a topic, or, quite simply, getting tongue-tied. For this week’s challenge, we want you to take the theme of silence and explore it in your own way.

At a loss for words? Here’s a few ideas to get you going this week:

  • Breaking the silence: is there a post you’ve been chewing on in your mind for a while, but have been nervous to publish? Break your own silence by getting it out there.
  • Is there something you left unsaid, but regret? Tell us about a time when you didn’t say what was on your mind, but wish you had.
  • Write a story, but leave out someone’s voice. What changes? What type of storyline can you tell with silence acting as a character? (Hey, even Jay and Silent Bob are a pretty good example of this.)
  • Take the challenge to real life: how long can you actually stay silent? An hour, a whole day? If you’re able to take on a day of silence, or have in the past, tell us about what the experience has been like.

We’ll be waiting in quiet enthusiasm to see what you come up with.

546 Comments

Join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Interesting challenge. Oddly enough, I just wrote a post entitled “The sound of falling snow.” For that piece I set myself the opposite challenge, to find sound and something a little more creative than my first response which was — oh, god, not another snow storm. It was fun to do. This challenge will be fun, also. Nice one!

  2. There is a certain time in the middle of the night I awaken …sometimes it is to go to the bathroom,sometimes,it is just that I have to sit up . I take a sip of water from a glass on my bed table then I either meditate or pray…(I rarely pray in the day;not even at church.) but then in this quiet ,almost silent moment(maybe my partner snoring or the house creaking) The day not yet here… I listen to that certain sound of silence. It seems almost a ‘holy’ moment. I get refreshed and lay back down . The dreams I have after that are beautiful with colour and sound and even scents that seem to be coming from a garden .

  3. This one will be challenging, if for no other reason that my blog was conceptualized around this idea… so I already have over 150 posts on this theme.

    Good idea for a challenge, though.

  4. My poem is about ‘breaking the silence’ over something important. It is about confession, and owning up with the intent of being honest and protecting the greater good. And, it is about the ‘painful, fearful silence’ of the aftermath during which you wait… you wait to see how the truth will alter things for you- for the better or for the worse. Because, it means so much too much. Because, they mean so much too much.

    You can read it here: http://wp.me/s3jGBo-moments

  5. While in college, my roommate and I liked the same guy (neither of us ended up with him). While she was very vocal about her interest in him, she never found out I liked him. As a result, she was very affectionate/demonstrative whenever we would hang out in a group. This led to jealousy and a propensity for me to become easily annoyed with everything she did or said (even if it was not related to said guy). A more significant result of me staying quiet, however, was the fact that by not telling her I liked the same guy I avoided a situation that, while difficult, could have served as an opportunity to strengthen the friendship between me and my roommate.

    1. Just goes to show just how often and in how many different ways we communicate during just one single day – as you said you didn’t think it would be a problem but some things are so automatic, things we say or do without thinking that we just don’t realize the cumulative effect until you have to not do them – Just goes to show I guess.

  6. I’m new to this…so I hope this is the right way of responding to u who are waiting? My, first leave; I was in a JrROTC Military Academy High School, I was fourteen and in my squared off OD uniform in the projects where I grew up. Out in the sun of the day with a friend or two. Low and behold one of the neigborhood bullies spies me in my pressed uniform. This person, older than my self, and bigger had had me on the ropes in the past…we had history, but today would turn out different. He and one of his cut buddies stormed up to me, I felt alone, but stood my ground listening to his verbal bullying and faint threats, I stood there and stared straight into him, saying nothing, his cut buddy must have herd it though, through my silent eyes he saw what I was saying and he grabed his bully buddy and urged him away, after that day the bully never said a threatening word to me again. [Covers silence and Gauntlet?]

283 Responses Ready to write? To participate, publish a post on your blog that responds to the prompt. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More