Writers can be strange creatures. We pick up on four types of energy: heat, sound, light and movement, and it can be easy to overload us. But there is nothing which fills me with more existential dread than the auditory kind. I will now reveal to you the seven sounds that (in my opinion) bugs us senseless:
1. Murder. Whether cold, foul, unplanned or blue, I am not interested in loud killing, even if you are my neighbour’s cat mauling a raccoon, or, more often than not, my neighbour’s raccoon dispatching the postman. If you’re going to commit bloody murder within a ten mile radius of me, please, do it quietly, and put the chainsaw back when you’ve finished. My second pet hate is being left to pick up the pieces.
2. Lust. Walls have ears, you know. If you’re that desperate, put some loud (i.e. earth shaking) white noise on; better still, wear a gag. Or mime.
3. Gluttony. If you are going to make all the sounds of a foie gras duck before the funnel is extricated, please stay outside. What do you mean, “What if it rains?” There’s always the shed.
4. Sloth. Try writing a novel/short story/poem/article with one of those gallivanting around. (Slow gallivanting, which is even more likely to drive me into paroxysms than 45 rpm gallivanting.)
5. Wrath. Yes, this possibly ties in with number one, but I can’t STAND shouting. IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHOUT, do it quietly, or without opening your mouth. Better still, do it at a frequency too high for me to hear – UNLESS YOU HAVE A DOG. (Actually this shouting malarkey is quite therapeutic. Well, it would be, without the raccoon hanging off the end of my finger. And the postman.) Which brings me to…
6. Using God’s name in vain. Or any sort of million decibel swearing, really. (You can mutter swearwords, that’s fine – after number 5 – I won’t be able to hear you.) Of course there are instances when one cannot help shouting curse words – while talking to your hard of hearing gran at the tea table, for example, or intoning certain verses from a King James Bible in an echoey church (um, if you happen to be a vicar and quite old fashioned, that is). But it’s always alarming when you stub your toe on a chair and it yelps expletives at you, isn’t it? I’m sorry? Never mind…
7. Pride. Much as I love cats (they don’t love me, I have a restraining order to keep at least a mile away from them) we have no room in this house for what should ideally be living in the African Savannah. Things would get knocked over, and Stamford Animal Pet Supplies don’t sell cat-flaps big enough. (Apart from the growling and screaming and possible gory sounds, have you smelt a male lion?)
N.B. No lions, cats, raccoons, sloths or postmen were harmed during the compiling of this nonsense – because none of them were present at the time. I’ll deal with them later.