Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Musing: Knitting in Silence

Since today is my birthday, I'm posting something a little different. Not about the store, it's a little essay about knitting and creativity.

What is it about silence that scares people? Most knitters I know knit while watching TV; some knit while listening to music. Whenever I mention that I usually knit in total silence, people’s eyes go wide. “Why would you do that? Don’t you get bored?”

I actually enjoy silence. The world is noisy. Traffic, loud music blaring from cars, piped-in smooth jazz over the loudspeakers in department stores, television & radio commercials, and my pet peeve, people talking just to fill up silent moments. With all that chatter, my own thoughts rarely surface. It’s like sensory overload; so many outside sounds influence and drown out my own inner voice.

Anyone involved in a creative pursuit knows something about the inner voice. Deep within us all is a tiny being, completely individual, trying to express itself through knitting, painting, writing, performing, doodling, or any other creative outet. This tiny voice has something to say - something unique and valuable. Most people are scared of this little voice inside us all. They don’t want their own thoughts to surface, for fear of being ‘original’. Yes, the fear of originality, of standing out from the crowd, of doing your own thing, of being different, is a very real fear for many. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this is what makes “creative people” different from those who are not: creative people are not afraid of their inner voice. In fact, they need to express their inner voice. I am such a person. If I go more than a week without expressing my inner voice, vague depression starts to fill me. I get restless. I become unhappy with my life. It grows worse and worse until I pick up a camera and go out shooting sunsets, or pick up the needles and click away.

Knitting in silence is a very good way to tap into your inner voice. As the needles click rhythmically away, stress dissapates and thoughts begin to surface. Memories coalesce. Usually I keep a notebook next to me while I knit, for often I’ll come up with a great idea for something spontaneously - not necessarily knitting related. Or I’ll remember that I need to do something that I keep forgetting about.

We all need some space in our lives. Each paragraph on this page is separated by white space. So too do we need a little space scattered througout our busy days. In between yoga sessions and soccer practice, after we get home from work, before we cook dinner, whenever: we need to sit down with a little silence and let ourselves be ourselves for a little while. We need our individuality to seep through our regimented days. It truly is healthy. And who knows, we may discover the great american novel within us (or at least a really cool pair of socks to knit up).

1 comment:

Denise said...

Well, well, happy belated birfday! I, too, knit in silence, mainly because Tess is sleeping in the room just next to my favorite spot (the living room couch), but also because I like the concentration. If only I could knit and READ. Haven't figured that one out yet.