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Telling Silences

Geraint Ellis

Copyright 2012 Geraint Ellis

Smashwords Edition

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Telling Silences

The face is the mirror of the mind and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart’

Saint Jerome

I was nineteen and, in an early college essay I’d been asked to explain what in the psychological counselling process would ‘mend’ the person in my care. I was nineteen; I had no fear of appearing too eager. And in moments of utter idealism I wrote that the answer lay not necessarily in the verbal exchanges, but in the silences between words. Answers surface; compromises are made. I even used a music metaphor. ‘Riding the Silences’ I wrote, or, ‘Sospirando, (sighing) an Italian musical term that tells the performer how to play the melody; a term that explains why music will not contain enduring power unless it is broken up into phrases, and how each of the phrases must be briefly separated by telling silences: Silences that inform both parts. Telling silences’. That phrase remains with me to this day. I still believe it. Indeed, in my youthful exuberance I went further by referring to the great aria from Handel’s ‘Rinaldo’ (‘Lascia Ch’io Pianga’, a melody marked, ‘Sospirando’. Type it in. Hear those silences) and, with great confidence, stated that this is ‘a piece of music that absorbs and submits its enduring power from the silences between each phrase’. And, by the same token, I maintained, ‘when two people meet face to face and attempt to get at the core of their anxieties, it is the silences that bring about the enduring power of mutual discussion, as the concerns of both are brought to the surface: Telling silences’. My essay came back marked boldly in red ink, ‘Forrester; there are vacancies for people like you in the college Madrigal Society’.

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