“In the words of Depeche Mode: Enjoy the silence. Seek out John Cage’s 4’33’’. Or maybe read “Not Writing” by Anne Boyer. Daily, we are inundated with language, content, noise. I don’t always want to join the chorus. But, if the silence is too much (sometimes it is), and if I feel there is something unnameable holding me back, something I would prefer to name, then I try to meet my frustration and consider the conditions of my speechlessness, an aversion to words.
I ask myself: Who am I refusing and what is the nature of my refusal? Is my posture one of avoidance or withholding, and if I had something to say, to whom would I say it? What words would I use to express what I know is breathing below this feeling’s surface? Or can I speak of the surface of this feeling, and the ways it keeps me bound, stone-like, leafless: silent. If not the surface, then can I describe the surround: the land in which my silence thrives, unbound?
I try not to know in advance of where I am writing what I am writing. I trust the process, even as I know and recall that sometimes, there are no words. And when there are no words, what lives in the word’s place? I ask myself this almost everyday.”
—Lara Mimosa Montes, author of Thresholes (Coffee House Press, 2020)