Silence as Failure?


I'm thinking a lot today about what silence means in my life as an artist, musician and woman.

I hear from other artists & musicians lately about silence as a form of failure.

As a woman in modern culture, I am told by pretty much every social media platform, magazine and popular book on the best-seller list to raise my voice, to make myself heard, to be unashamedly myself, to not be silent. 

I want to talk about this.

First, of all, what makes "failure" such a special doom-word that creatives love to give energy to?

Why would my beautiful, passionate, effervescently inspired, fired-up, bad-ass creative artist/maker/musician friends even give the word "failure" a place in their lexicon?

And, what are the metrics for being a "successful" person?

Is there something inherently lame about silence?

Is silence a form of giving up on one's dreams, creativity, or purpose?

Here's what I have to say about that as an artist, musician and as a woman:

In my world as a composer, songwriter and musician and deeply introverted soul, MOST of the time is a good time for silence. =)

Keeping silence is necessary for getting deeply in touch with what matters most in the present moment.   

Silence/stillness is just as important and essential as making noise, too. (Noise is my silly way of saying making art & music, tee hee =) btw)

Silence shows me where I am, what I'm feeling, where I'm coming from and where I want to go.

I understand the pressure of being a musician who wants to get her work out there, too. I put my compositions out for licensing. I make albums. I perform. I use music as a healing modality. I engage. I do all of these things, but I'm not what you'd call a "successful" artist by social media, or Spotify or any other kind of mass metric following.

So, does me taking silence mean that I am a failure as a musician, an artist, a woman (LOL) if I'm not constantly producing, producing, producing, and selling, selling, selling?!?!?!?

What is this drive really about?

Have we forgotten we are a part of a deep lineage of Renaissance nobodies who simply do what they love for the sheer interest, pleasure and satisfaction the work brings?

There is nothing new to an artist living out his or her quiet life while being prolific in their work, and dying with nothing (by way of glamour, celebrity status, or wealth) to show for. This is not a new thing. Living a quiet life, doing one's work, whether shared or not (!!!!!) is a PLEASURE.

Are you enjoying yourself? Are you loving your work and your life? Are you in love with the process? These are questions to sit with in silence.

Stop giving "failure" a second thought. What a silly word...perhaps it is simply a "man's" problem anyway? Its own etymological history is based in late 17th c. Anglo-Norman crop-related roots anyway, referring to a cessation of (or non) supply. In the creative's world, the supply is BOUNDLESS, without lack, since the supply comes from the Source/Muse itself!

As a woman composer, songwriter and musician, I will continue to be grateful for this boundless richness, this deep well that must sometimes be dug and up and then allowed to settle in silence so that the healing waters may continue to flow!

Silence is definitely *not failure.

With much heart, pleasure, feeling, passion, with love and humanity, I offer these thoughts!

Thanks for reading, =)

~Ruth 

1 comment

  • Nadya
    Nadya Oregon
    What a wonderful reflection - in the silence, we can hear our own voice

    What a wonderful reflection - in the silence, we can hear our own voice

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