Background Noise

12 May

Background noise drives me bonkers.  Blither, blather, blah, blah, squeaks and talking heads and horns and kids playing, all diminish my concentration and render me useless.  As a writer, I need quiet. I need to be sequestered in a sound-proof booth until the writing is done.

My step-daughter recently bought me a coffee mug which has these words printed on it: “Fu*# Off! I’m writing!” That pretty much says it all about me and writing.

What’s weird about all of this is during my years as a teacher, background noise didn’t bother me at all.  Thirty kids in a classroom didn’t faze me one iota.  The chaos of a playground during recess was music to my ears.  But that was then and this is now, and I’m absolutely no fan of background disruptions.

And we seem to be bombarded by it more now than at any other time, or so me thinks.  Televised media and social media and increased traffic and congestion and, and, and, and, I long for peace and quiet more now than at any other time in my life.

Just shut the hell up!

And most of it is doom and gloom, and that sure as hell doesn’t help, a barrage of warnings and complaints and arguments and demands and my God, people of the world, could you just take a deep breath and let a wave of tranquility have its moment on the planet?

My folks didn’t complain.  I can remember that clearly. They did not have it easy, not by a long shot. They worked for every damned thing they had; they faced hardships; they had some serious reservations about politicians and lawyers and corporate heads; but they did not complain.

“You make your own way in life, Bill. Don’t expect help.  Complainers are people who are looking for sympathy, plain and simple, and in this household you’ll find sympathy between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.  Find a way to get it done and then do it.”

God bless my parents!  They were old school all the way, and there was nothing particularly wrong with old school in theory.  An independent spirit and a philosophy of hard work and determination will get you through some pretty tough times. So I was taught and so I believe.

But the problem with all-inclusive philosophies is they are destined to fail.  One size does not fit all. There are people in this country who are incapable of getting it done on their own, for a variety of reasons, literally millions of people who cannot get by without assistance, and that’s the rub with my parents’ philosophy of isolation and independence.

Just random thoughts as one day flies by, welcoming another, and I ponder my day under eighty-degree skies.

I hope you have a good one and, as always, I’m grateful for your visit and friendship.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

27 Responses to “Background Noise”

  1. Janine Huldie May 12, 2020 at 1:46 pm #

    OK that mug sounds awesome and truly quite perfect! That said I agree I choose
    To try my best to turn off most of the negative out there at this point and do what I need to get by daily. So appreciate the reminder here, as well. Happy Tuesday now, my friend 😊

    • Billybuc May 12, 2020 at 3:59 pm #

      I don’t know how you do it, Janine, with two girls at home all the time. Even the quietest of times in your house must include noise of some sort. I would be a crazy man!

  2. manatita Hutchinson The May 12, 2020 at 2:12 pm #

    Thanks for the observations Bill. We know as humans, that we should avoid even the written noises, but we get sucked in. So much criticism or complaints, as you call them. These people will not respond, even if you say ‘Love loves you.’

    The stuff about the Government intensifies, even when it does something good and yes, there’s a lot more to complain about as well. Give me our parents any day. The old folks just knew how to get on with it. Much Love to you and Bev.

    • Billybuc May 12, 2020 at 3:58 pm #

      They truly did know how to get on with it, Manatita. I grew up with two of the best teachers I could have hoped for.

      I hope this finds you well, my friend. Much love coming back at you.

  3. Shauna L Bowling May 12, 2020 at 2:44 pm #

    “Sympathy is found between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.” That cracked me up, but it’s absolutely true, isn’t it?

    I know what you mean about all the background noise (crap) that spews from the TV. It’s one reason I limit my intake of current events.

    Unlike you, when I write, I can’t work in silence. I need to have music on. I find it very motivating. To me, complete silence is distracting.

    Enjoy your week, Bill!

  4. Billybuc May 12, 2020 at 3:53 pm #

    It’s always interesting to me, Sha, how different writers are, and how different their writing routines are. If i put music on, I start singing, and then the dogs start howling. lol

    Have a fantastic week, my friend.

  5. My Very Own Writing Coach May 12, 2020 at 6:28 pm #

    I hear you, Bill. and I agree completely. I’m also glad you don’t live at my house. Constant in-house noise from two grandchildren, and interruption after interruption. But I think somehow I got used to it. It would seem strange any other way. I hope you have a quiet week, sir.

    • Billybuc May 12, 2020 at 8:17 pm #

      Thank you William! All is well here, peaceful unless the dogs have a barking fit. They don’t much care if I’m writing or not. 🙂

  6. Sue Dreamwalker May 12, 2020 at 9:21 pm #

    I love silence…. so I am with you there Bill….
    My best pieces of writing are done in the silent wee small hours of the night when no one is stirring not even a mouse.. 🙂
    Though I do enjoy typing comments here in wordpress while listening to soothing music… I also love to knit listening to classical music…
    But the best noise of all is birdsong first thing in the morning… 🙂
    Happy Shuuussssshhhhh……. Writing.. 🙂 I will tip toe out.. 🙂 ❤

    • Billybuc May 13, 2020 at 1:51 pm #

      Just one more reason for me to like you, Sue! 🙂 For sure we have music on most of the day when I’m not writing. I love background tunes, or the NPR radio station for world news. It drowns out the dogs barking. 🙂

      Have a brilliantly happy Wednesday, my friend.

      • Sue Dreamwalker May 13, 2020 at 3:04 pm #

        Thank you Bill… You too Enjoy and Happy Gardening And Writing 🙂

  7. explorereikiworld May 13, 2020 at 2:37 am #

    I’m actually loving my quiet surroundings. Infact, sometimes even music in my own home I get the urge to turn it down after a song or two.

    Stay safe and Take Care, Bill

    • Billybuc May 13, 2020 at 1:43 pm #

      Quiet can grow on you, can’t it, Ruchira? I love that you are enjoying the peace.

      Blessings to you always

  8. phoenix2327 May 13, 2020 at 8:49 am #

    Hey, Bill.

    We have an unwritten rule in this house. If you need to complain, complain. Just keep it short and sweet, then get on with it. I think a quick rant helps get the negativity out of your system so you can totally focus on what you need to do.

    Background noise has always been an issue for me. Thankfully, there is less of it now. My oldest daughter moved out last month. She is quite the live wire. My son is moving out at the end of this month. I’ll be turning his room into a crafting studio/home office for myself and my husband. At last, I’ll have a door to hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on. 🙂

    Have a great day, Bill, and stay cool.

    • Billybuc May 13, 2020 at 1:40 pm #

      Hi Zulma!

      I like your complaint rule. Short and sweet. I wish my dad would have allowed that. lol

      Empty nest syndrome approaching for you, eh? That should be quite an adjustment…or do you have one more living there? Sheez, they will probably return again and again and again. 😦

      Happy Hump Day my friend!

      • phoenix2327 May 14, 2020 at 8:23 am #

        Truthfully, Bill, I don’t understand the whole empty nest thing. I mean I enjoyed the kids while they were growing up, but they need to move on and become the people they’re meant to be. That can’t be done in a house where were stepping on each other. And my husband and I have lives to get back to.

        Yes, there is one left. She has a new job working nights, so I only see her for a few hours a day. She has her own room so we can easily stay out of each other’s way. Besides, she’ll go wherever the fridge goes. lol

        As for boomeranging, my oldest has done that already. This is her second try at living on her own. I hope she makes it this time. (crossing my fingers)

        I feel like your Dad didn’t allow complaining because I imagine you were the type of kid who would brood over things for a while. He just wanted to give you a shove so you could get back to the business of living.

        Have a good day, Bill.

      • Billybuc May 14, 2020 at 1:35 pm #

        My son moved out for the second time four months ago. I hate to say this, but I don’t miss him much. lol Tongue in cheek…kind of!

        As for my Dad, you are correct. I was a brooder, and early on a whiner. Those two character traits did not fly in our home.

        Happy Thursday my friend!

  9. Denise E McGill May 13, 2020 at 5:01 pm #

    I have to agree. My favorite part of the day is first thing in the morning before people (and my husband) get up and start the horrible clatter and demands. When it’s quiet and peaceful, only the birds chattering in the trees and I could yell at even them but I don’t. It is a time I can think and hear my own reply to my thoughts. Why can’t this peaceful time last longer? Breath deep and go with it. It is what it is. There are some things I simply cannot change. Perhaps I should get up earlier. Have a great day!

    • Billybuc May 13, 2020 at 5:10 pm #

      Denise, that was my wife’s solution. She now gets up at five instead of six, and sits by herself for an hour to enjoy the quiet. 🙂 Blessings always my friend.

  10. Damyanti Biswas May 14, 2020 at 3:58 pm #

    It is tougher when the background noise is in my own head.

    • Billybuc May 14, 2020 at 4:19 pm #

      Oh my, Damyanti, I certainly understand the truth in those words. lol

  11. Andrea Stephenson May 16, 2020 at 7:14 pm #

    I completely agree – to think I used to listen to loud rock music all the time when I was younger – now I would much rather have silence.

    • Billybuc May 17, 2020 at 2:07 pm #

      Actually, Andrea, even in college, with rock music all over the place, I had to find a quiet place, usually the library, to do my studying. Different strokes for different folks. 🙂

  12. Lori Colbo May 25, 2020 at 9:34 pm #

    Hi Bill,
    I am fortunate to live alone so I don’t have to worry about somebody moving around the house or talking on the phone. I don’t like music on while writing. The only thing I can’t stop is noise from the neighbors. So I do most of my writing at night. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Billybuc May 26, 2020 at 1:05 am #

    Thank YOU for sharing, Lori! It’s nice to know I’m not too weird.

  14. Lawrence Hebb June 8, 2020 at 11:17 pm #

    Love the idea on the mug! I’ve got one special to me with my old Regimental crest on. It’s got a Latin inscription on that I often think about.
    “Quovis per ardua” or as I think it translates “Hardship builds endurance” (my own interpretation)
    The mug’s nearly 40 years old and has cracks (wifey banned me from using it to drink out of)
    But like you I hear so much complaining and all I want to say is “get off your butt and do something about it then!”
    Have a good one.

    • Billybuc June 9, 2020 at 1:38 pm #

      Lawrence, cracks in the mug just means it has character, like you, my friend. Tell wifey “hands off!” And then duck, just in case. lol

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