I’d like to start a collection of silences. Knowing me, I’ll find most of them in writing, but there might be occasional ones out in the world, or in films, or music. Or paintings. Morton Feldman said something to Rothko about silence, and I wrote it down last week and lost it.

It’ll be here somewhere. And in lieu of Feldman, here’s part of a text by Tim Etchells from the Performance Matters website. I’d like to keep hold of his text as the first entry in my collection:

“In the Forced Entertainment performance Bloody Mess John Rowley bids the audience ‘Close your eyes’. He is trying to explain to the darkness at the beginning of the world. Close your eyes.

The other space of imagining – close your eyes.

‘Close your eyes’.

Because for some reason story state, story place, is close to the state or place of sleep. The habit of reading to children at bed time. Speaking them out of this world and into another one. Mimicking the transaction that will soon come from the waking state to the state of sleep.

Maybe. Yes. But.


Connected deeply to the act of imagining. Because, in its pure form imaging is best done without present distraction. We need to put our attention elsewhere. To bring a picture in the mind it’s best to have none in front of us. Z, I say as I am reading to him. Please do not whisper to yourself, or please do not play with that as we’re reading.

We’re busy working in here. In the head. We don’t need anything getting in the way of that. Like now, for example.”

A good silence is telling the reader to close their eyes.