Sit for a few minutes in a quiet space. Write about what you hear.

Based on exercises in Keri Smith’s “How to be an Explorer of the World”. find more creative ideas at

Add your response


Submitted by Bill Smith

There are 12 written responses to this assignment.

Not so quiet.

Written by cqbats on February 3, 2014 12:10 am
Leave a comment

Heater humming……..

Spanish music next door…….

The tapping of my nails on the table……

Loud chirp of the bird downstairs…….

Wind on the Hill

Written by johnjohnston on September 29, 2013 11:31 am
Leave a comment

On a hillwalk, I pause to listen, I do not sit down the grass is wet. At first all I hear is the wind, my breathing and heart thumping, my breathing and heart calm. The wind is blowing, quite hard, in my ears, across the opening, through the reeds and grass nearby, over the hills on the other side the reservoir below. Down the glen a buzzard mews. My eyes close and I hear more, a lorry 3km away on the Loch Lomond road, the outlet from the reservoir.

The Quiet Write

Written by @dogtrax on September 28, 2013 5:02 am
Leave a comment

I woke up too early but the benefit is that I am in a quiet space right now. All the kids are asleep, and my wife, too. The dog is up. Or was up, and is now back asleep although a collar shake every now as he shifts around for a better position gives the house a jerky rhythm all of its own. The other sounds I hear is the gentle hum of this laptop on which I write and every now and then, the refrigerator.
I suppose we don’t take enough time to notice the silence. Technology has made our lives so noisy, all the time, that we expect to have that white noise soundtrack going, going, going. I watch my kids read, and they want to have the radio on and their cell phones nearby, and (like some old man of ancient times) I can’t stand it.
The dog and I did our daily walk this morning (before he went back to sleep) and the outside is just beautifully serene this early. A few crickets chirping out some songs and that’s about it, other than the sound of my footsteps doing some echoing off our neighbors’ homes. And the dog’s collar again …
I like the quiet. It helps me to write.

Ringing In The Silence

Written by @melindakumi on September 28, 2013 2:07 am
Leave a comment

Who am I kidding, I haven’t sat in pure silence in a long time. I can selectively mute the world when I’m engrossed in other projects or other sounds, but I live with a constant whining ringing in my ears. I often fall asleep waiting for it to stop.

I’m not sure if my sound’s depth perception is accurate anymore – the crickets fade in and out of sounding like toads.

I want to fill the absence of activity; in an attempt to sit still and quiet I tell my limbs to rest. My twitches create disturbances in the air, but I can neither feel them nor hear them over the ringing.

A scent blows in from the window and I panic because I can’t see, my eyes trying to picture the smell. The shifting of my body creaks into the floor, the rubbing of my chin on my shoulder rustling over every pore of my skin, the panic heightens my senses and I can hear my eyes widen and blink, I can hear the waver of my subconscious holding of breath, and I can hear my heart adding to its beats per minute. The ringing sets in again and I hear the vapors escape my nostrils weaving out of its compressed passages.

The words inside of my head have taken over. They want to analyze, they want to identify and add to my growing consciousness of what it takes for me to be alive.

And then I’m suddenly aware I have a voice.
And I start humming the song in my heart.

Sleep Deprivation

Written by Cris Crissman @Cris2B on September 27, 2013 11:31 pm
Leave a comment

10:44 Vigil begins . . .

frig hums

crickets chirp

cat scratches at flea, thumpitty, thumpitty, thumpitty

10:51 yawn. I wake from cat nap.

Backyard sounds this afternoon

Written by @rljessen on September 27, 2013 10:35 pm
Leave a comment

Car sounds in the distance
Airplane noise overhead
Faint footfall, getting louder

Sliding door slides open, closed

Background soundscape of cars, cars, cars and pavement sounds
One car stands out, louder, still in the background

Next door teeth gnawing on bone

Car passing by

Background soundscape of cars, cars, cars and pavement sounds

Sound of a voice, undecipherable at first
“Oh no, I spoke too soon”
A shriek off in the distance

A power tool whines as it comes to life,
the whining continues


talking, louder, gone

bark, bark, bark


cars accelerating

car door slamming
car starting up

the whine of a power tool stops

Cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep – repeat staccato

Car passing by

Swp, swp, swp – repeat quietly twice
Cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep – repeat staccato
Tmm, tmm, tmm, twee, tweet

Background soundscape of cars, cars, cars and pavement sounds

A quiet space

Written by karenatsharon on September 27, 2013 9:47 pm
Leave a comment

There is no quiet space, unless I fill the bathtub and immerse my head in the water. Even then, I can hear the drumming of my heart, the gurgle of my body and the flow of water as I move.
I sit on the balcony of my house this evening, facing the water. The construction crews have gone home and the machines have stopped their thumping and banging. There is the constant low hum of traffic from the 401 (a busy highway that crosses the river a fair distance from my home) and the higher pitched hum of tires as they cross the metal LaSalle Parkway lift bridge that is even further from my home. Sound carries over water. Overlaying that is the whistling chuffing of the wood ducks and the louder chirping of crickets and frogs. I can hear the murmur of conversation a few doors down from me as we all sit outside, enjoying the last gasping breathe of good weather before it gets dark and cold and dreary. From behind me I can hear my dog going to his food bowl, crunching his kibble and drinking his water before he comes over to slump bonelessly on the floor. His harness jingles as he walks. He snorts, puffing out air through his nose. It sounds almost indignant.
As I concentrate on the sounds I hear, the ticking of the clock becomes apparent and the sound seems to swell in the darkness. But the train is coming soon. I can hear the clang of the train gates coming down from far across the river, over 5 miles away. In a few minutes, the train will whistle. (It can be heard from as far away as Sydenham a distance of over 20 miles.) Soon the train will come and the air will be filled with the sound of locomotives and rushing wind. And then, once again the sound of crickets and frogs will dominate the night.

By the McKenzie River Before the Storm

Written by Sandy Brown Jensen on September 27, 2013 8:12 pm
Leave a comment

The oldest sound I know
is River rolling over, unfolding
itself like a life, maybe mine.

Osprey keers, falls, strikes,
shatters green reflection of old
gold big leaf maples. Cat’s

paw of wind, drumming run
of ten thousand tiny rain feet:
the autumn storm begins.


Written by Stephen (the Cossack) Downes on September 27, 2013 4:41 pm
Leave a comment

Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….


Written by @corthor1971 on September 27, 2013 3:24 pm
Leave a comment

I’m sitting. Concentrating. All I hear is BUZZ. BUZZ. Go away fly!


Written by shannotate on September 27, 2013 12:14 pm
Leave a comment

Silence can never really come at work, there are those noise machines turned on all over the room. Like a quiet fan they hum all day until their owners click them off at night. I hear it now.
There is a conversation going on about technology that I don’t understand. To me, it sounds like the technical jargon that they put into science fiction movies. “Well if we add the appropriate mumble-mumble code to the file to assign a directory for storing mumble-mumbles, we’d have a mumble up and running in no time!” This interrupts the purring noise occasionally, I hear it now.
Of course there are the clacking keyboards, some furious, some rhythmic, others like a cricket hopping. The mouse clicks, double clicks. Scrolls wheel.
The change in weather brought stuffy noses. Everyone sniffles and sneezes more than they did a few weeks ago, myself included. Tissues are being tugged with a small resistant cough of cardboard and paper. As I reach for my own box, I hear it now.
The printer is a constant, and I like to play a game where I guess who did the printing. There are the usual suspects who prefer to have their data on paper, and when you see someone who hardly ever prints you wonder what could be so important. The machine loudly whirrs, I hear it now
Doors shut and close in the back, people coming and going. With each there are always the zippers and rustles of spreading your day out and collecting it back up again. I do not hear it now, but as 5’oclock draws closer I predict more goings to come.

Autumn Morning at Home

Written by Bill Smith @byzantiumbooks on September 27, 2013 11:17 am
Leave a comment

As my wife practices the piano in the living room/studio, I sit on the back yard patio. The gurgling of the pool keeps me compamy, as do a couple of crows in the neighbor’s backyard, “caw caw” they repeat.

The wind rustles the leaves of the nearby trees. It is a breezy fall morning.

A jet plane miles away, who is leaving on that jet plane?

Ah, there is a lower, smaller propeller, a local flight no doubt.

Occasionally, I hear the engines and tire sounds of trucks on the highway about a mile away. And vehicles on the local streets.

My neighbor’s pool pump just kicked on. Noisy impeller, should be replaced.

A different bird, maybe a bluejay.

Just noticed the background chirping, grasshoppers, cicadas, or locusts, I have no idea but there seem to be three or four varieties going on.

Sometimes the wind chimes next door emit their dull tones. They are hanging in a gazebe, protected from the breeze, so don’t get much action.

And now my wife has the metronome on to keep the beat.

And now the patio door from the den slides open, and she comes out to join me. After twenty-five years of marriage, we still enjoy each other’s voices and our conversations.