You can sense it at the beginning of a horse race, or a sprint in track and field. When a diver is about to show their moves. Or a conductor moments away from starting a performance of a symphony. Any sound is a distraction. When an audience member coughs. When a tennis fan calls out in excitement before match point.
It is that one brief moment of silence that precedes something spectacular and creative. It is a pause, perhaps to gather thoughts or consider a sequence. It is the last moment before an expression of unbelievable and, hopefully, exceptional brilliance.
Writers feel it as well. Sometimes it is right before sitting at the keyboard. Other times, it is far away from anything literary. Just now, for example, while changing clothes. The sky is overcast. Perhaps it will rain. My cat jumps up on the bed, wanting attention in the form of an ear scratch or belly rub. He is not mewing. There is nothing moving outside.
Shortly, I know I will be heading to my office to work on…something. But in this smallest of moments, I run a gamut of ideas and images through my mind. Perhaps a tune from the 1930’s is swirling in the back of my head like a low volume soundtrack.
We write to clear our heads of the clutter that accumulates from the day-to-day musings of all that is thrown at us. There is often an incessant desperation clouding our way like a heavy thunderstorm. And the windshield wipers have a heck of a time keeping up. But then the clouds clear and for one brief moment there is that silence.
Then, it is time to begin.