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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Monday, August 20, 2007


We're being buzzed by airplanes and helicopters; I know not why. I've shut my office window against the cool gray day, but I can still hear the rumbling tremolo of turbo-prop engines surge and fade overhead. It's another tributary of the ever-swelling river of noise pollution: lawnmowers, leaf-blowers, hedge-trimmers, power-washers, the car-horns of impatient and hypocritical motorists, the roar of supercharged diesel buses pulling away from the bus stop outside our house, plus a yapping pug a couple of doors down who barks continually from early morning till long after dark. More and more these days I find it necessary to use earplugs during the day as well as at night.

Noise is a stressor. I think not enough attention is paid to this in our plans and culture. I'm sure it is part of the positive-feedback loop of aggression and incivility that characterizes our urban world.

Just saw Kimmie off to work. She says there is a fire down on the harbor; so the aircraft are probably to do with that.

Noise has always been a fact or in urban life. In ancient Rome people wrote of how hard it was to sleep at night because of the noise--especially after a law was enacted banning commercial traffic from the streets till after dark, in order to reduce congestion during the day. Then the teamsters would roll in, delivering their loads from the docks, cracking their whips and shouting. Windows had shutters but not glass. I'm sure some people must have used wax earplugs even then.

So: another week begins. I'm having a filling drilled out this morning, to be replaced by a more comprehensive onlay--part of a series of escalating dental operations to fix a tooth that hurts when I bite on it too hard.

In and around all that, I have to be creative. It's by no means as bad as working in TV, when the health or sanity of the writers was the last consideration, and we were considered mere faucets, there to deliver a certain quantity of material at a certain rate--but there are still obstacles to creating, even in the supposed quiet of one's suburban home.

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  • Its wonderful article on your understanding about noise problems and making noise about noise itself. But how will it be, if its three or four folds more noisy than what you are saying? thats where I come from, " India" believe me its 110 dB all the time due to innumerable sources of noise mongers.
    I have started marketing earplugs to plug the problem, in my own brand name. I am also working to create awareness about noise pollution through my website www.dbsafe.com
    Ravi Narayan

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 21, 2007 9:27 AM  

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