Bett Norris


There’s Quiet, and Then There’s This

I have been very quiet lately. If I couldn’t be upbeat, I thought, just be quiet until I can. This is a variation of the “if you can’t say something nice. . .” theme. On several fronts, I have faced uncertainty. Okay, facing may be too strong a word. Hiding from, or running from, or maybe waiting for the worst to befall.

If I can’t kill them with kindness, what’s the point of even engaging? All right, with sarcasm, then. Once entering an argument, I lose the ability to see the opposing view. And that serves no one, I suppose. Why try to see the opposing view when their proponents don’t try to see mine? So I retired to my corner to sulk, or soothe my wounds. Silence is itself an answer, isn’t it?

Still, the “why can’t we all get along?” refrain hummed in my ear. I find it very hard to understand the motivation for meanness. Retaliation feels like bitterness, feels bad. I can’t respond in kind without also feeling guilty for doing so. Getting even puts me in the same place, and I am not like them. I don’t want to be even.

So I made a pledge to post more often, even though there is no real resolution on the several fronts. No recent improvements in the situations. Refusing to play means I lose, I think. It means I forfeited the one thing I love doing. That hurts only myself.

I am writing riddles, so let me be clear. Please, I pray, let me be clear. I have been struggling with the dissolution of my family now for two years. Struggling with the loss of my mother, trying to understand why she left us so at odds with each other. Trying to find some common ground between us.

I have been struggling with a situation at work, with eerie similarities.

I have been struggling with doubt about my next book. That is not a good feeling. Despite reassurances from my publisher and editor that it will get published, I have doubts.

My singular response to all these situations has been to keep still, to stop writing.

That is what I have the power to change. And so, I will. I will it to change, and I write.


5 responses to “There’s Quiet, and Then There’s This

  1. Jill September 15, 2010 at 10:03 am

    “I don’t want to be even.”

    That’s it exactly.


  2. Joy September 15, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    There is power in silence, but it has to be just as carefully chosen as words. When to be silent, and when to speak is something I constantly struggle with.

    You are a writer. Don’t let anything take that life force (your gift) from you.


  3. Andi Marquette September 15, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Hang in there, Bett. Thinking good thoughts for you.


  4. Robinet September 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Dear Bett, all along this road, we have these blocks in our paths and we just to have to find strength, have hope and pray to the Universe to get us through. I am pulling for you to come out on the other side–with family, writing and your job.

    Take care
    Peace & Love


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