A meditation on the infinite search for meanings in silence, from Wallis Wilde-Menozzi, the author of The Other Side of the Tiber and Mother Tongue. We need quiet to feel nothing, to hear silence that brings back proportion and the beauty of not knowing except for the outlines of what we live every day. Something inner settles. The right to silence unmediated by social judgment. Sitting at a table in an empty kitchen, peeling an apple, I wait for its next transformation. For a few seconds, the red, mottled, dangling skin unwinds what happened to it on earth.
Wallis Wilde-Menozzi set out to touch silence for brief experiences of what's real. In images, dreams, and actions, the challenge leads to her heart as a writer. The pages of Silence and Silences
form a vast tapestry of meanings--shaped by many forces outside personal circumstance. Moving closer, the reader notices intricacies that shift when touched. As the writer steps aside, there is cosmic joy, biological truth, historical injustice. Women's voices and women's silences; Agnes Martin's thin, fine lines and D. H. Lawrence's artful letters; an active engagement with personal memories as the self changes over time. COVID-19 thrusts itself into the unbounded narrative, and isolation brings with it a new kind of stillness.
As Wilde-Menozzi writes, "Reading a book is a way of withdrawing into silence. It is a way of seeing and listening, of pulling back from what is happening at that very moment." The author has created a record of how we tell ourselves stories, how we think and how we know. Above all, she has made silence itself a presence on the page and has given the reader space to find that silence in surprising ways.
About the Author
Wallis Wilde-Menozzi is the author of Mother Tongue, The Other Side of the Tiber, and Toscanelli's Ray. Her poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in Granta, The Best Spiritual Writing, Words Without Borders, and Tel Aviv Review. A collection of her essays was published in Italian as L'Oceano e' dentro di noi. She lives in Parma, Italy.