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My ears are sensitive. Not super-sensitive, like to the point where loud noises cause me pain or anything (thankfully, since I love metal/rock, and my poor girlfriend can’t take the volume at the concerts we’ve attended since we started dating), but just sensitive enough that I can usually hear people from a lot farther away than is expected. So sometimes, I just can’t help listening in on a friend when they’re talking on the phone. This is less common now than it used to be, since most of my friends are more fond of texting than talking, but it still happens from time to time. Every once in a while, when this situation comes up, there’s something said that’s absolutely brilliant. I had a couple of these gems pop up a couple of weeks ago:

“Oh, so it’s totally cool when a cat does that to a person, but when a person does it to a wall it’s creepy.”

“You have more of a passion for shih tzu’s than anyone I know.”

Now, I have no idea what was happening on the other end of the line, and I’m quite content with that. It’s more amusing that way. Sometimes, though, I think that when I’m writing, I’m listening to these one-sided conversations within my own head. It’s, as E.L. Doctorow put it, a “socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” I found this via stumbleupon a few weeks ago, and decided that I had to write something about the concept of the world around you being filled with voices that you can hear, if only you listen carefully enough. There’s something amazing about the writing process, because it lets you have those kind of talks with yourself (and/or your characters, if you so choose), and I love the idea that those voices actually have something behind them. I feel like those whispering voices are the kind of thing that you would hear when you’re wandering around inside this place. Named for a story by Jorge Luis Borges (which is sadly NOT in the copy of The Aleph and Other Stories that I’ve been borrowing from V), this library is reminiscent of things that I’ve been writing about in the past, and it makes me very happy that I’ve been crafting similar stories to those written by Borges, a man who died the year before I was born, and whose writing I’d regrettably never read until last year. I want to visit The Library of Babel, because it sounds like a place where I’d be able to get lots of writing done, as long as I was quiet and didn’t upset the librarian.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go listen to nothing for a while. Cheers!


  1. I know what you mean. I’ve often mentally scolded myself for being nosy, but I can’t help but eavesdrop on others when I’m out in public, and some of the stuff you hear out of context is absolutely hilarious. Especially among little kids. Today in the backpack room they were all saying “Eeeewwww,!” and I contented myself with not wanting to know what about. But I don’t even need to eavesdrop on some of these kids, I get asked profound questions by some of them on a regular basis anyway. One of them recently asked me, “Did God make it so that we could talk, or did we learn how to talk by ourselves?” Today he asked me, “If we all died, would there be a new world created, or what?” I love this kid, and I love sharing with other adults the things that are on his mind. Enjoy listening to the voices of the night!

    • It’s one of those things that you can’t really help. It just happens. Children tend to provide some of the best, most innocent views on things.

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