what comes to you in the silence

Some of the work I’m proudest of didn’t get a single “Like” here or on Facebook.

Austin Kleon shared Michaela Coel’s Emmy acceptance speech where she spoke of how “visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success” and added, “don’t be afraid to disappear from it, from us, for a while and see what comes to you in the silence.”

Kleon then added, “Silence is a space for something to happen.” It often is enlightening to step away from the electronics and all the stimulation and turn off the brain or present myself with a blank page and see what fills that space.

I just stopped and looked through the window of my room here, not far from the shores of Green Bay, and a lone bird flew across the little bit of sky I can see above the trees, probably a gull, maybe a pelican, but high enough that I couldn’t be sure, and alone enough that I wondered if it was lost and seeking its friends — Do birds have friends? colleagues? fellow travelers? They have mates, of course, but what else do we really know?

Where I was going before the bird flew across my consciousness is how right Coel’s comment felt. Something special might be waiting in the silence when you disconnect, when you dare something that might not immediately gather those precious Likes. A swarm of clicks can be satisfying, but so can that connection that, for now at least, is only within.

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