It is a common belief that writers need silence OR order to make sense out of the strands of thought that constantly threaten to twist into dreadlocks. There are a couple of writers I know who must damage their biological clocks so they can sleep in the morning and compose in the dead of the night when everything is--- well, seemingly dead.
I used to need silence too because I was used to it. I lived with a mom who had a house that was almost a monastery (or was that a cemetery). Circumstances have changed though. I now live with true Pinoys who thrive in minefields of constantly exploding sound. If it isn’t Martin Nievera dripping goo on the CD player it’s some neighbor on the videoke exercising strangled cords in a key that has yet to be invented. I cannot afford to take a break to rant, rave and demand a stop to the madness. Time ticks for the writing slave who must produce or else suffer the absence of tomorrow’s pandesal and instant noodles. In a way, I beam with pride over my new hybrid ability. I am invincible.
Deep inside, I also don’t seem to mind the daily ruckus anymore. It seems to me as if Filipinos are happier when there is noise. My father-in-law says his radio is always turned on to drive the evil spirits away but it might as well include bad memories and psychological disorders.
My mother-in-law was extremely noisy and extremely happy even when she knew that her disease would rob her equally noisy clan of a day’s worth of laughter. But even as they prepared to let her go, it was the constant noise on nightly vigils, 9th days and 40 days that ensured that those she left behind would go on living.