Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Silent Blog

Blog # 1

My name is David Gray. I am twenty years old and live in Beaverton, Oregon in a two room condo with my friend Erik. Starting: Sunday June 20, 2010 I have made to myself a vow of silence. For thirty days I shall be bound from words. I shall go thirty days without speaking words, though I am allowing myself to talk to people through text, so writing and emails are okay. Granted the goal here isn't to impress anyone, let me make that very clear to anyone who reads this. I am not doing this to impress someone or make myself into an idol. I am not doing it because I want to seek attention or make it known that I am a city boy taking an almost spiritual vow of something or other and breaking some silly city record. In all honesty I am doing this vow more for myself than anyone else.

For the last twenty years I have lived with a very definite fact in my head which my mother has never been shy to say to me in front of any company whatsoever. “You came out with your mouth open and you haven't shut it since.” Naturally, my mother's tendency toward a general lack of sensitivity to my feelings always has driven such things far away from my comfort zone but there is some truth to it.

Whilst sitting by myself in my home, Erik and my other friend David speaking together in the other room, I thought a lot in a very small amount of time. It occured to me that I had, in point of fact, talked much more in my life than I had listened. As far as things went, I hardly listened to my own words, much less those of others. While I understand that some people go about in life just like this without ever seeing anything wrong in such actions it was clear to me that I had a problem with it. I have always felt ganged up on for my flaws and lack of proper thought before anything I say. People find it bad that I cannot keep my mouth closed and have nothing meaningful to say. I've never understood it and I still don't. However, I have figured out that I never really wanted to understand it all. I've just wanted people to stop making fun of me or nagging at me or saying things I didn't want.

However, it only recently occured to me that I was actually at fault. I still don't understand why they do it but, through listening instead of speaking, I hope to find out just what about me sets people off and just what I do that bothers others. In the process I hope to learn even more than that. I have had friends for years but I don't think I've ever paid attention to them, not the way they deserve. I believe that I have a much more difficult time listening to anything other than myself when I am talking and I used to talk quite a bit.

To remedy this the vow has been placed and I will remain in silence for a month. If it suits me I'll be silent for even longer than that.

As said before, I don't want to impress people with this. I understand some people may take it as such but I just want to find myself. I want to find a way that will make me better and, if I happen to become better in the eyes of others in the process, I welcome it with open arms. As it is this blog only exists because, no matter how uninteresting it may be to some people, I have no doubt that there are some people who will be curious enough to ask, “Why doesn't this guy talk,” or there will be some random person on the internet, searching through blogs and will run by this by chance. In the small chance that he'll bother to read it he'll find out and, through some random miracle, something I'll do will help him. Hey, I may not be trying to impress anyone or help anyone aside from me but it's always gratifying if it really does do that. Maybe I will gain popularity through it. No complaints.

I don't actually think I can do it. I don't believe any of my family will support it or me during the vow's duration. I doubt a good deal of my friends will think it anything but utter madness. However. I am expecting the worst on purpose in this vow. I will hope for the best and do whatever I may, in my power, to keep my promises to myself. If I end up talking then so be it. I can always start again some other day. Despite the fact that I don't think I can complete this vow, however, I will still hold strong to it as long as I can.

Any of you who really think it's wrong, feel free to tell me you don't think I can do it in the comments or state that you think it's not a smart thing to do but please be nice about it. Don't flame me.

For those of you who wish to cheer me on, please feel free to help me realize an important goal I have set forward for myself. The support is cherished.

For those of you who are more than happy reading this as a private spectator of some sort, I won't judge and I certainly won't complain for people taking interest in my life. Feel free to use reading this blog daily for anything you want. I can't judge.


The Rules:

I, David A. Gray, will not speak any word for thirty days, effective after 4:08 am, Sunday June 20, 2010.

I may laugh, cry, cough, sneeze, belch, yell in pain, clear my throat or even make grunting noises of an emotional sort during this month long period but I will not form words in any language or even attempt to make various grunts sound like words for the purpose of communication. If I can, in the end, avoid all of the sounds that make exception to my vow, all for the better. I may even whistle a tune every now and then to amuse myself. However, no verbal means of communication are allowed.

During the month I will not be answering my phone. For those of you who are reading this that do, in fact, know my phone number or somehow find it for the express purpose of talking to me, you won't get an answer from me until 12:00 am, Wednesday July 21, 2010. If anyone answers, chances are it will be my roommate, Erik. If you don't get an answer at all, please feel free to leave a message. The message for my answering system will explain that I have indeed taken a vow of silence. Though I will not answer the phone I will check my messages whenever I see that I have any, which will be as often as I can check. I will have calls returned to you as best I can.

If an emergency arrises that would otherwise cause myself or those dear to me lethal harm I fully intend to break my vow the instant I know about it. My mind being clear from a month in silence is less important than my well being or the well being of others. If I see a man who is clearly getting mugged on the side of the road, don't expect me to try to find help without forming words. If my sister gets hit by a car and I only have three minutes to tell her I love her, expect me to open my mouth and let the words flow out. However, unless I absolutely must, I have no intentions to break my vow no matter how much anyone else insists. If you're not dying I'm not talking.

Although I am not allowed to speak verbally there is no part in my vow that states complete non-communication. I am freely allowing myself to type and email people or instant message. When I'm online feel free to send me messages if you know my IM or whatnot. I certainly won't try to ignore you. If you send me an email I will attempt to send you a reply as soon as I can, though I make no promises as I do not have internet at home and only get a maximum of two hours at the nearby Beaverton Library.

Sleep talking, as I have been told I do often, is a resounding exception to my vow. The vow is a conscious decision and sleep talking is most certainly not a conscious action on my part. If I am found talking in my sleep my vow is not broken as I am not consciously going against it. I don't make the choice to sleep talk, trust me on this. Largely, I also don't consider the first five waking minutes of any given sleep cycle I am going through as a time where talking is a breaking point of my vow, however, I will still refrain from answering phones and deliberately talking. Furthermore, if someone puts me on some drug without my knowing that is clinically proven to cause me to start talking I don't break my vow because of it. Only if I actively make the decision to talk do I break the vow.

If someone asks me why I'm not talking I am to kindly hand them a slip of paper noting my name and the url of this blog so that, if it pleases them, they may read this blog and will have a method of finding out my silence instead of waiting until I am done.

I am allowed a small period of time during my days where my vow is considered null for that amount of time in that room. This room is my bathroom and the time is during a shower. This time is reserved for verbal reflection with myself, however, if anyone happens to knock and wishes to speak to me then they are more than welcome to sit on the toilet and speak to me from the other side of the shower curtain. I'm not squeamish and the curtain is opaque. So long as you're out by the time I need to shut up and pull the curtain open I won't throw a fuss. Because of the delicate nature of this exception, I am not actually expecting people to run into my house and start talking to me while I bathe. I just want it known that it is, in fact, an exception to my vow. If I can help it this time won't even be used as much as it is available. There may even be times where someone will want to talk to me and I just won't be in the mood.

The use of instruments is acceptable in any situation during my vow's duration. It makes me feel even better to say that I don't know any music based forms of communication. All music made by myself through use of instrument will be purely to make music I will appreciate.

I am barred from even trying to learn sign language during this next month. It wouldn't be fair nor would I want to do it in the first place.

At midnight, Wednesday July 21, 2010 I am allowed to once again speak. However, if it suits me I may simply stay quiet. After all, I may like being quiet once I find out what it's like.

Every day I am to get to the internet and post a review of my thoughts and reflection of the previous day to place on this blog. I cannot promise I will carry out this rule, just as I cannot promise I will complete my vow without breaking it but I will promise to work as hard as I can to make sure I update daily and that I will try to finish my vow without breaking any of the rules.

No change in atmosphere or environment is to get in the way of my vow. If I move to Canada the vow doesn't change. If I go to an SCA event I will fight chivalrously against my opponent and bow to him when he kills me to tell him he did a good job. However, I will speak no words, even acting as Dagonet Adair in the SCA just as I will speak no words as David Gray in the real world. I will try to get to events or other things that I like to do but, for those of you who read this that take part in such things as that, please understand and accept it. If the president of the United States of America was to bless my company and ask me personally to speak publically to our country (One can hope) then he'll just have to wait until I am allowed, by my vow, to speak again.

Finally, more a favor to be asked than a rule to myself; Please don't try to make me break my vow. First of all: It won't work. I genuinely believe I can do it and that it will be for my benefit. Please don't try to take that from me. Secondly: I expect that, even if you don't understand it, you will respect that I have this goal. Even if you have the perfect words to make me talk I will ask that you don't use them unless you absolutely need to. It's disrespectful, low and out of bounds.


I would like to thank my roommate, Erik and my friend David, who have both given their support and are dealing with my non-talkiness (Totally a word now) during this time. Maybe, by being “silent” for as long as I will, I will learn how irritating it is to you guys.

I would thank my family for the support but I'm not yet sure if they will give it to me so I'll just save that for later.

I would like to thank (if any people do) the people who will come to decide to support me in this. Doesn't matter if I know you or not. Your support is well appreciated. It's hard to do anything alone.

Thank you, Beings Almighty, all of which I worship and believe in equally and all of which I ask, if this is the right thing for me to do, please assist in my endeavors. If this is not the proper thing for me to do, which I dearly hope is not the case, I trust you will send me some sort of sign aside from angry yells from friends and family and insults from people I don't know, to show that I need to choose a different method of finding myself.


David A. Gray


  1. Dag - Good luck in this journey of yourself. Remember you can be your own best source of understanding and wisdom; and you can be your own worst critic and worst enemy. I have always found you to be a great guy. From stumbling with me on the grass dancing at events, to keeping bees from the ladies at a Hauksgardr event, to being my son's hero for climbing up the kids' toy at Hopping Phules to kill a spider for him. That, my friend, is chivalry.

  2. Dag, I applaud your vow, and hope that you can come away from this with the understanding and enlightenment you seek. Personal journeys are never intended to be easy, otherwise they wouldn't be worth taking. You are a brave man to understake this and accept the potential fallout so openly.
    More power to you, may your learn much of yourself and those around you! - Kerryk

  3. Wow that was the longest blog post ever recorded. But seriously :) I think it's great you've realized that there must be something more. Although I'm disappointed I can't talk to you, but then again you never call me anyway.

  4. David,

    This sounds exciting, but that means when we come to visit in July you still won’t be talking. I am not sure I’ll be able to handle the silence. But, we will find some fun things to do anyway.

    I tried this same experiment when I was in high school but only for 12 hours. There were several of us in my class that took a vow of silence at the same time. After the 12 hours I didn’t even feel like talking and it took a while to get used to it again. I can’t imagine what 30 days would be like. But good luck anyway and will see you in July.