If Wishes Were Silence


[Image by SadGirl311 at Deviant Art.]

There are days when I wish I was a mime artist.Ā  Acting out my responses to life in a solitary cabaret.

White face, chic clothing, hair pulled back in a bun. Long black gloves.

How freeing to have no voice. An alphabet of gestures and shadows.

There would be no regrets for things said or inferred. People would expect my gestures to be exaggerated. I would be associated with melodrama but not blamed for it. I could respond with horror if I wished to. Or sadness.

If my sister told me she is the happiest she’s ever been in her life, with one eye on me and the other, fearfully, on the object of her affection, I wouldn’t need to smile and say That’s great; teeth clenched like a bear trap.

I could pull an enormous silk handkerchief from my pocket and cry a single tear, sparkling as a diamond. People would laugh, thinking it was part of the act. I would not be accused of being unforgiving.

I wouldn’t need to say anything at all. I could just stand, mouth turned down at the corners, holding a faded paper rose with a bent stem. People would know how I felt, but they wouldn’t blame me for it.

Perhaps the silence would make all things clean. What are words but thoughts brought to life? And some thoughts, many thoughts should stay in the dark furrows of the mind.

It is my dream now. Variations on the theme of speech. A cryptic dance. My face can be dark behind the white make-up and no one will know. They will think it is a trick of the light.

25 thoughts on “If Wishes Were Silence

  1. Tricks of the light…

    It’s hard when we have to take on these dances. When we can plainly see the outcome yet are powerless to help.


  2. I know, dear, I know. An abusive relationship hurts so many more people than just the main two characters. i feel for you…send prayers your way


  3. Ah… but I’ve only known you in silence, Selma. The typed word is not audible yet you manage to make it’s silence heard louder than if it were spoken.

    A beautiful peace.


  4. NAT:
    It is hard. Just sitting back. Waiting. But I do remain hopeful….

    I think you understand my work more than I do and I don’t mean that in a cheeky way. I mean it in a genuine way. You often see things that weren’t apparent to me in the beginning. Many thanks.

    I know you know. It makes me sad that you know but it does offer me comfort. I am really grateful.

    How lovely. You are a bit of a poet yourself.


  5. first off i gotta say that photo is amazing…. now i am gonna go read…..

    when you have nothing nice to say,, wouldn’t it be ideal to be able to say nothing at all… why cant we just do that???????

    she has to live her own life selma,, i just wish she would leave you out of it more………


  6. I agree with Bear’s comments. What an interesting topic and post Selma.

    BTW, the Clarity…award winners are now posted. I didn’t “win” nor did any of my pals that entered. For what it’s worth, I thought your story was powerful, touching and memorable and I REALLY expected you to be one of the chosen few. Excellent work as usual..

    Have a great day dear S, Hugs, G šŸ˜‰


  7. I think we all have our secret ambitions to be something much more dramatic and interesting than our ordinary lives permit. Mime artist is an unusual one, though.


  8. DAN:
    Lovely to hear from you. I take that as a great compliment coming from you!!

    Isn’t it an incredible photo? I am in love with it. She does have to live her life. And I am happy for her to do so. But why does she want me to be her husband’s BFF? It’s very unsettling.

    Well, I am blowing a big raspberry to that contest right now, because if not even one of us got some kind of prize…all I can say is RECOUNT RECOUNT!!! šŸ˜†

    I wouldn’t feel too disappointed about not getting anywhere, G. I feel writing contests give a false measure of the ability of the writer. In many ways the judging is far too subjective. What freaks me out is the fact that the stories that win are usually the stories I liked least. I don’t know what that says about me but it probably isn’t good!!

    You are a great writer – don’t forget that!!

    There is something so elegant about mime. So self-contained. That really appeals to me!


  9. Profound thoughts written with the style that photo shows.
    I love reading what floats around in your mind and if you were a mime
    I know I’d see body language at its finest.
    (I never acted as a mime, but my children were active in theatre…and I’ve always been fascinated by this form of communication, perhaps because one of my college degrees is in the communication area.) Fine post!!


  10. I liked this piece a lot.

    It was a long time coming for me but I have learnt to be silent. I always used to feel the need to say something even when I had nothing to say. And I will not be drawn to speak by others if I do not wish to do so.

    But sitting back and watching is hard. I try not to do it. You can only do, think, be what it is within your power to do/think/be – she has to deal with her own life and things she does will not always make sense to you or indeed anyone else. You can only advise if asked and even then you have to accept that she may not take your advice. But similarly you do not have to be civil to anyone just because she would like you to be – you can be silent.

    Ooops – bit hypocritical of me really. It was me who had a huge bust-up with my MIL the Christmas before last.


  11. GEL:
    I was in the drama ensemble at school and Uni and always loved mime. it is so much fun to do. I think my love for it started as a result of all the silent movies I watched as a kid. I also went to the theatre in Paris once as a child and saw a mime artist there. I was immediately hooked. In a more practical sense, if I could communicate only by mime it would save me the misery of constantly putting my foot in it.

    Not hypocritical at all. It is enormously difficult to keep quiet all the time. I agree with you, however, that being silent is totally the way to go. Saying my piece doesn’t achieve anything at all, so I may as well save my breath. I am now officially mute in my sister’s presence.


  12. We’re strangely compelled to speak. I find it interesting that, if we removed all verbal communication, we could still communicate what we mean.
    But not with as much style as you’ve just expressed it.


  13. oh my dear this is one of your best – I love the phrasing, the pace, the open spaces left between thoughts, and the shape of the piece on the page – just excellent, excellent writing!!

    and the topic – so compelling – I think we tend to speak perhaps out of our own discomfort – listening to each other, really listening, requires silence – such important things you are exploring here –

    wonderful, wonderful


  14. what is a thought if it doesnt find the words? sometimes those thoughts are caught between the words we speak or write…..and those are the ones who ring true like a grace note.

    beautiful piece.


  15. ANTHONY:
    we could still communicate without words, couldn’t we? Look at dancers, in particular the ballet – such an eloquent form of movement. Maybe we just need to learn to move more.

    Discomfort plays such a role in conversation, doesn’t it? Trying to avoid those awkward silences, always trying to say the right thing. Sometimes I say things and just sort of blurt them out. It’s as if I have lost all sense, but I often feel pressured to keep the conversation going. I really need to get to mime class stat. LOL. Thank you for your kind words!!

    Silence does seem to invoke a lot of responses. To me, the thought of it is quite attractive. I can’t get past the idea of all that peace and quiet. šŸ˜€

    I love the image of the grace note. Just gorgeous. Thank you!!


  16. Hmmm… those are thoughts to ponder. Some of my worst nightmares are those I scream in but no sound comes out.

    Funny – I remember one of the first comments you made to me was, “You are still trying to find your voice” – that struck a chord with me, because until that point, I had never thought about it. How true it was – I was seeking my narrative voice. I still am, but I think it’s better now. But I think that’s even more terrible than no voice at all – feeling all that emotion, but unable to express.

    If we were all such eloquent mimes, I don’t think they’d be made fun of so much on the west coast! šŸ˜‰


    I think you have found your voice now. You get better with everything you write. I have been glad to come along on the journey. It’s funny you should talk about nightmares, because one of mine is speaking but no one hearing me as if I am trapped in a glass box. Maybe I am afraid of being misunderstood. Any dream interpreters out there?


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