The Necessity of Interruption

So, this post probably won’t win me many writer friends. Be warned.

I have found over the years I have written poetry and prose that I am different from my colleagues in one regard: I actually prefer to be interrupted from writing.

Now, before all you secluded-in-solitude writers go nuts, let me clarify: My writing room has no “doors” to speak of. My children can come in at any time and speak to me, get hugs, whatever. And in retrospect, those interruptions have actually made my writing stronger.

Here’s what I mean: My brain actually has to work harder to power through the static and the outside influences, and thereby comes up with things that my brain at total ease would never think. In fact, when I’ve tried to write in areas that are too quiet (the library, my local college study room, etc.), I find myself encountering greater difficulty. There has to be some background noise, and it can’t be something like music with lyrics or that artificial white noise garbage. The sounds in the environment have to be things I know are real: the drip of the rain beyond my window (like right now), the TV in the adjoining room mumbling about…I can’t tell what, the coffeemaker gently whirring forth a stream of fuel, my boys playing pirates in their bedroom down the hall. These noises actually help me to focus better. And while many of my poet friends would cringe at the thought of such “racket,” I’ve found that writing locales without these sensations rob me of something. Maybe it’s the familiarity, maybe it’s a degree of undiagnosed OCD — I’m not sure.

Whatever the cause of this scientific fact, the thing that matters most is its effect. I know how and where I write best, and life’s little interruptions are as necessary as pen and paper. Do I still fantasize about being that “lone wolf” author who has blackout blinds and acoustic paneling just to ensure that his thoughts aren’t “tainted?” I suppose. But given my druthers, I’ll take my boys’ imagination-chatter and the soft hum of life in the suburbs over celebrity sanctuary any day.

One thought on “The Necessity of Interruption

  1. I don’t know if I’d be any good at writing in complete silence. I have young siblings I watch.
    Although, at night when I do write, I have to have music. Normally music is the way I go anyway.

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