For Christmas, my fiancé got me a record player and Tom Waits' album Swordfishtrombones on vinyl. Which, by the way, is 34 years old and still sounds amazing. Today I got the chance to play it while working on some art and I noticed a few things; no ads, no interruptions and weirdly enough, when the record is finished it stops playing... and there's nothing but silence. I don't even notice the silence. Waits eases me into it until after some immeasurable amount of time, I realize I've been sitting in complete silence. Which doesn't happen very often because silence often creeps me out.
Everything I do to tap into culture is like a highway; I can keep driving and the road never runs out. Netflix automatically loads the next episode. Youtube fires up another video when the last one is done. After I finish reading an article online, I'm prompted to read another one (and I usually do). Even while using iTunes on my computer (no ads, so no distractions right?), I get sucked in by notifications for e-mails. My time, a precious commodity for the artist, slowly gets chipped away. I scroll and scroll on Facebook and Instagram and it's hard to jump off of the highway.
I'm loving the experience the record player brings with it. It's not automatically doing everything for me and meeting my every entertainment need and I'm okay with that. It's leaving some much needed space. I put my phone on silent, put the record on and suddenly I feel unplugged. One would think that when there's nothing going on, nothing happens. But, this isn't true. You'll find that when the noise stops, your mind gets a chance to tell you the thing it's been chewing on. Whether it be in words, or music, or images. And it won't get that chance if you don't give it some space. So unplug, put on a Tom Waits' record, let it ease you into the silence, and make some art.