A Book of Silence (book #115)

Sara Maitland, 2008.

Talks about living in silence increasing one’s awareness of taste, of the sublety of sounds (eg the different noises in the wind) and of temperature. Also that it makes emotions more “monumental”, “roller-coaster” – “It seems as though speaking, ‘telling’ one’s feelings, even to the extent of ‘look, look how wet I got’, acts as a way of discharging them, like lifting the lid of a boiling pot”.

Discusses the fairy-tale-like accounts of Marguerite de la Rocque, abandoned on an island in Canada in 1542 for immorality, with her lover and her maid. The other two, and her subsequent baby, died, but she herself was resucued two years later. “We have very few details about how she survived, presumably by hunting and fishing. She killed a bear cub as ‘white as an egg’. We know, too, that she was persecuted by demons – they screamed abuse at threats at her in the darkness, and she shot at them through the roof of her hut, and later, when she had no more gunpowder, shouted bits of the Bible at them. But she survived. Eventually she was rescued by some fishermen. … she went home to Picardy and set up a school.”

Here’s the link to the book of the 16th century Heptaméron where the story was first told.

Here’s an interesting interview with Maitland, where she talks, among other things, about having a dog to anchor herself in reality. In this one she talks about her MH issues. She talks in some detail in another one about hearing voices.

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