reVoice

Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City


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Beginning in Silence

In music, the silence between notes (called rests in musical parlance), is all part of the composition; the pregnant pause before the beginning of a symphony, the quiet stillness at the end of a bittersweet song complete the musical experience. Visual artists use negative space in much the same way – a void where there is a “visual silence”.

The English word silence derives from anasilan the Gothic verb meaning the wind is dying down and the Latin desinere– to stop. Silence is often interpreted as “interrupted action”. Writer Paul Goodman took to categorizing noiselessness: the silence of slumber, of reflection or resentment, the fertile silence of awareness and listening, the baffled silence, the silence of repression or the silence of peaceful existence.

Venturing out into nature away from the noise of the bustling world, we find our-selves surrounded by sounds that emerge within the silence. The rustling of leaves, the cacaphony of insects and birds, the whistling of the wind through the trees; nature’s symphony that has been over-whelmed and “silenced” by the ruckus of mankind. In total silence, I have even heard my heart beat, the blood pulsating in my eardrums.

Silence is a restorative state, giving the brain time for cell regeneration. As we disengage from the outer stimuli that drains our attentional resources in the prefrontal cortex, the brain gets to let down its “sensory guard” and taps deeper into our inner being. In his book, In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise, George Prochnik regards silence from an additive perspective. Like negative space, silence offers a place where creative ideas can emerge, unhindered by the limits of language. The poet Adrienne Rich called this the “tunnel of silence” in which there is no narrative but an open area waiting to host new and inventive thoughts and emotions.

It was this last potential of silence that generated my thoughts for this final newsletter of the year. As 2017 comes to a close, as the days get shorter and colder, it seems a good time to seek out some silent space. As Herman Melville once said “ All profound things …are preceded and attended by silence”. The din of the new year’s celebrations has the potential to stifle any attempt to start the year with a “tunnel of silence” so I have resolved to begin 2018 by extending a welcome to the energy and creative power of an open, quiet place; to dwell at least for a moment in a landscape of silence. I welcome you to join me.

https://research.coquip.com/archives/424; https://www. huffingtonpost.com; https://www.brainpickings.org/ 2015/01/03/paul-goodman-silence.

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