If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Thursday, November 15, 2012



In 1964 Paul Simon wrote the song The Sound of Silence. It was a lament about “People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening,” The song goes on to talk about  people who “bowed and prayed to a neon god they made.” Has anything changed in the almost 50 years since he wrote this? After the election season we just went through, I wonder. Sometimes I think the meaningless babble is worse.

Maybe it’s worse because the one thing that seems to have changed is the lack of true silence. Today almost everyone is wired and in constant touch with others through cell phones, texting, emails, tweeting, Facebook and numerous other media forms. Has the neon god Simon spoke of in 1964 morphed into a tech god today?

Some years ago my sister and I were visiting Holden Arboretum, a large and wonderful area of trees and gardens not too far from Cleveland. We noticed a young couple sitting on a bench. She was on one side talking on a cell phone, and he was on the other side also talking on a cell phone. Suzanne and I chuckled and wondered if they were speaking to each other.  It used to be when I was shopping and heard someone talking nearby; I turned because I thought they were talking to me. No, they were chatting on a cell phone.  Now it’s become so common I ignore it, but I still find it intrusive. I’d rather concentrate on what I’m shopping for and not listen to someone’s chatter. Some people check out without ever smiling at the cashier as they continue their cell phone conversations. I consider that extremely rude.

Today you can’t walk in a park or on a nature trail without someone near you talking away on their cell phone. You’d think they’d want to listen to the sounds of nature; birds, crickets, rustling leaves, anything other than their own voice and whoever is talking on the other end.

I don’t have a cell phone by choice. I do have a Tracfone my daughter, Susan, gave me and after some nagging from my kids, I take it with me when I go for walks in the woods or somewhere in my car. They’re the only ones who have my number, and know it had better be darn important if they call me on it. Otherwise, they can call me on my land line and leave a message on my answering machine if I’m not there.

I wonder if some people feel threatened by silence. I’ll admit I listen to an hour of news on NPR with my morning cup of coffee and breakfast. I also listen to the news while fixing supper and doing dishes afterwards. Once I settle down to read in the evening, I listen to music, too. The rest of most day I spend in silence except for the phone calls I get from family or friends.

Today people are constantly checking emails, Facebook, texting, tweeting, or some other tech connection. For many it’s an obsession. Some feel it’s necessary for their job even off hours, but some enlightened businesses like Google, Nike and the Huffington Post, to name a few, recognize the necessity of rest and allow their employees places to take naps or meditate. They feel they’ll reenergize and be more productive.

There’s a man in NYC, Dan Rollman, who is a co-founder of a movement called The Sabbath Manifesto, which is calling people to unplug one day a week to find solitude, or simply to take a day of rest, or spend time with family or friends. Their website is www.sabbathmanifesto.org/about/  The idea came to him when he found himself craving a simpler time. He describes it as “a creative project designed to slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world.” Cathy Davidson, a Duke University professor who co-directs the school’s PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge, feels the importance of being unwired for a period of time is not so much to be alone, but.to do things we enjoy like dancing, concerts, movies, eating with friends, playing cards, reading or maybe writing. She said, “The real issue is fun vs. work.” It’s my opinion it’s also important to be unwired to be able to think and reflect.

 Has the tech world become your neon god?  Do you enjoy real sounds of silence?




Jim Jackson said...

I grew up with Simon and Garfunkel and can still sing many of their songs without looking at the music.

I am very comfortable with silence--or I should say quiet. One late autumn day at my place in Michigan I was sitting by the lake, which was dead calm. No birds were around, nor squirrels, chipmunks or any other mammal.

I kept hearing a soft whooshing sound and couldn't figure out what it was. Then I realized it was the sound of blood coursing through my arteries after each heartbeat.

That was quiet -- and then a few minutes later a jet flew thousands of feet overhead spoiling the moment.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

Feeling comfortable with silence is a true art these days. I used to say my cell was for outgoing calls only, but that has changed in the last few years. Thanks, Gloria, for a very thoughtful post.

Sandy Cody said...

I so agree with what you're saying - and am delighted that there's at least one other person on the planet who feels as I do.

Nice post.

Sue, your loving daughter said...

I LOVE silence!! I don't get it that often, but when I do, I savor it!! I do like my cell phone but I do agree with you, I do not want to hear other people's conversations when I am shopping or dining out!! When I get a call, and I am out in a store or restaurant, I walk outside or to the bathroom. Also, when my family sits down for our dinner (our only meal we get to eat together), No cell phones or TV's, are allowed on!!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Gloria, I agree with you wholeheartedly. If I'm not traveling to promote my books, I'm home writing, and when I am, there's silence. I spend my day in silence. That's the most creative way for me. I make my living by directing my thoughts to create a world and writing it down. Silence is necessary for that to function for me the way I need.

I love music, but when I listen, I want to listen and pay attention to the music, not use it as a background. And the loud cellphone talkers in restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, etc. are irritating and intrusive. I guess we're just throwbacks to a non-tech era, the tech equivalents of Neanderthals. :-)

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Gloria,

You make some really good points. I do believe tech has become our new god. You can't have a family gathering without the kids plugged into their phones the entire time.

I've been doing a lot of marketing in the evening online these last few weeks and I get immediate responses from people. Everyone is sitting there with Twitter and FB on, as well as their email and god knows what else.

Is it bad? Certainly it makes us less physically active, but not much less so than if we were just watching TV.

As for me, I enjoy silence. I write in silence. I drive in silence. I don't want things yammering at me. I want to think my own thoughts.

Guess that makes me an oddball these days.

Kara Cerise said...

In my area we lose power often, especially during storms. This means no phone (including cell phones) or internet access. It used to bother me to be out of touch but now I enjoy those moments when I’m completely unplugged. Silence is golden.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Do you think it's more of a generational thing? It's mostly younger people who are always talking on their phones or bluetooth or whatever.
I like silence when I write and read.

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, you're lucky to have such a place to sit and enjoy silence. That's why I like my morning walks in the woods although I do hear the sound of some traffic in the distance.

I also love Simon and Garfunkle and still play their CD sometimes.

Gloria Alden said...

Paula, I can't ignore a ringing phone. That's why I don't have a cell phone because I know I couldn't ignore incoming calls.

Sandy, I'm glad to hear from a kindred spirit.

Sue, you have the noisiest house I've ever been in, but then maybe I think that because I'm most often there when your daycare kids are there. Still, I have to admit, it gets very quiet when they go down for their naps. I like the way you make sure there's no TV or cell phones or texting when your family sits down to dinner each evening.

Gloria Alden said...

Linda, I can't understand how a writer can write with background noise. I know some write in coffee shops and libraries, but even libraries these days are not hush hush places. I could never write in a writing class, either, where the instructor gives a prompt to write to.

As for music, I listen to it in the evenings as I read, but although it's background music, when a certain song comes on or a certain part like the "Emperor" in Beethoven's 5th, then I stop reading and become absorbed in just listening. It's the only way I can listen to music and still have time to read.

Gloria Alden said...

Maggie, I know if you're promoting a book it's necessary, but like you mentioned it makes us more sedentary and that's not very healthy, either.

A few years ago I picked up a granddaughter at school to take her to an afterschool activity, and she immediately started texting friends. I told her nicely that if I was going to do her a favor, she could stop texting and talk to me while she was with me.

I'm fortunate that during most of our family gatherings there's more talking and laughing together than plugged in members. If they do it occasionally, they're discreet and short about it.

Gloria Alden said...

Kara, that was one positive thing about your experience, wasn't it. For me it's vacations that have me out of touch, and I love it. If I'm with my siblings we're usually camping with an occasional stop in a hotel. If I'm visiting my California daughter, I do check my emails when we get back from our outings.

Marilyn, I think it's largely a generational thing, but I'm seeing more and more older people like that, too, athough probably not as much.I don't go on Facebook often, but older people seem to be there a lot. Also, they're the ones that mail me all the group mailings of things they've picked up on the internet. My closest friend, who died two years ago, was always answering her cell phone when she was with me. We were the same age. But as for texting and tweeting, it's probably not as common with our age group.

Warren Bull said...

Like Jim said, sometimes when it is quiet you're able to hear what you would have missed otherwise. A day or two ago In a very quiet place I was able to hear a baby giggle.

Patg said...

Hi Gloria, your fly in the oitment here.
Silence is in the ear of the beholder. I suffer from tinitus, so there is never going to be any real silence for me. I think I have more than enough of it otherwise and am only grateful for it when I need to concentrate. Jim, I've heard those wooshing sounds too, they can also be felt--totally annoying.
I'm not a fan of Simon. His songs represent the hippy dippy babble of the 60s to me. Remember, he also gave us 'all the crap we learned in high school'.
And using the term 'god' for anything humanity is momentarily obsessed with is just silly to me.
The sounds of nature are just as annoying as the rumbling of traffic. Awakening out of a deep sleep at 2AM with the sound of honking geese is as bad as the train engineer blowing his horn an hour later to annoy an ex wife.
Our next big silence experience will be when we travel in space. Then we'll be complaining about the lack of sound and relying on recordings of rush hour in NY to sooth us.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, there is no sound more precious than that of a baby or small child giggling. I don't even have to know the child for it to bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.

Gloria Alden said...

I can count on you, Pat, to make me laugh. I have tinitus, too, but to me it's the sound of crickets in the meadow and I'm rarely aware of them anymore. I also like the sound of geese honking - as long as they don't land on my pond. They're very messy fowl. When I heard honking geese last winter in the middle of the night, I wrote a poem about it. You won't see me traveling in space - airplane flights, okay, but not space.

E. B. Davis said...

Growing up, I lived in the country. When it snowed the best part was the silence. I'd stand in the snow, without moving, and listen.

Polly Iyer said...

I love silence when I write. I'm afraid I'm hooked on the computer though. There's so much of interest out there in the ether. I love the sounds of nature--geese, scurrying animals, etc. In good weather I leave my window open at night to hear them. I even like the sound of railroad whistles. I have a cell phone, use it to call my kids. Otherwise, I dislike talking on the phone. I watch a little TV in the early evening to find out what nonsense is going on in the world, then it's back to the computer. I can't imagine not being connected in some way to the outside world. But each to his own.

Gloria Alden said...

Oh, yes, E.B.! The silence of a snowy day when the world is muffled. It's one of the reasons I like living in N.E. Ohio. I love how each change of season is special in some way.

Polly, I leave my window open at night, too, from spring through fall. And I like the sound of train whistles, but then I don't live too close to them. Now the computer is something I'm on also, but mostly to check emails and the Guppy digests, and, of course, this blog and writing.