‘Silent Noise’: a dialogue-only experiment

This is experimental, it is a conversation between a psychiatrist and her patient, but they are not quite alone. The experiment is in the instruction at the end, if you would be so kind as to read on:


Please come in, Phil. Take a seat take a seat very neat over here look at him he’s walking funny lame bastard

Phil, talk to me, what brings you here today?

Piss off! What do you care? in her lair you walked in Walking.

Walking, Phil? Talk walk you’re an orc ha-fucking-ha What are you looking at?

You’re all the same, think you know I know you know we knows your nose Your nose is a rose. rose up crazy cow jumped over the moon loony high tunes

Fuck off out of it, crazy cow don’t talk to her she’ll knock you out lock you up look at her eyes devil’s eyes those are

Devil’s eyes. Devil’s eyes?



Whose eyes are Devil’s eyes, Phil? don’t tell her keep it secret we’ll know ho ho say it lo Secret.Tell me about the secret.


What’s the secret, Phil?



Secrets haven’t always been good things, have they? finish her off she’s sucking your mind out of your ears Ears. Shears. Cut them off. Very funny. out of your ears


go on do it Ears, Phil? she deserves it interfering old witch


look at him crazy as a loon loony lunatic tock tick

Piss off. cut them off Cut off. she deserves it witch bitch snitch Cut what off, Phil?

devil’s eyes devil’s ears Your phone? Did they cut your phone off? seeing through walls telling god devil’s tongue all rotten maggots for teeth

Your teeth are wicked. My teeth are wicked? What do you mean, Phil? maggots in that hole bet she eats shit bet she screws corpses bet she screws you Phil, do you need to stay with us again? I can find you a bed. Screw you. Succubus she’s going to suckubus the life out of you you’ll be dead dread bed Bed. Good decision, Phil. Let me just call the ward, get your life back on track.

your life give her the knife your knife take her life bitch witch

My life, your life, witch bitch. Who’s the witch bitch, Phil? Whose life are we talking about? life wife devil’s wife she’s got devil’s spawn in her cut it out evil bastard cut it out Cut it out.What do you want to cut out, Phil? Something bad? Bad is sad. Very sad. You’re sad? Sad is bad. poke it out cut it out devil’s cub slut whore mother mary Comes to me. Words of wisdom. Well, I think you’re very wise. It’s good you can say you’re sad, Phil. Maybe we can help. I need somebody. That’s good to hear, you’re not alone, Phil. see they’re all listening not alone walls have ears fears shears cut her open cut the devil’s whore rip out the antichrist Christ. Christ’s mother. Mary? is a scary fairy ha ha ha kill the bitch You’re carrying a bastard. What, Phil? What do you mean? Mother Mary comes to me with poison in her womb. cut it out cut it out get rid of the stinking pup and its bitch whore mother Bitch whore mother fucked the devil. Cut it out now, bitch whore mother. Bitch bastard double trouble




Don’t worry. Be happy.


Sitting with someone who is hallucinating means there are three people in the room. Unfortunately, the doctor or therapist can only guess at what the third entity is doing and how that influences their patient. Please now use your mouse to highlight the whole piece. 

(c) suzanne conboy-hill 2012

14 thoughts on “‘Silent Noise’: a dialogue-only experiment

    1. Thank you – dialogue-only is a fascinating challenge but it was only after I’d written it that hiding the voice suddenly occurred to me. It absolutely replicates the situation so many clinicians find themselves in. Mercifully, not all of them this creepy – mostly just cross purposes!

        1. In print, I don’t know, other than with an overlay or a filter insert of some kind. Digital is so much more dynamic and I think, perhaps using Dreamweaver, something better than a highlighting sweep might be possible.

  1. Hi Suzanne

    I must admit that at first I thought oh here we go – hearing voices that’s not very original BUT I changed my mind with the highlighting of the text afterwards. I thought that was really fab and it suddenly gives a whole different slant on the text – inspired!

    1. I’m so glad not to have disappointed. Getting these sorts of stories right is very important and I really wanted to put across the experience of being with someone who is clearly elsewhere but you don’t know where. I’d like to be able to toggle the ‘voice’ but highlighting was the best I could get out of WordPress!

    1. Thank you! I’m really keen on accessible interactivity, something that brings a different perspective into focus and is more of a ‘lean forward’ experience so that people are more involved. It’s selfish really because I want a reader to see what I see then they might like it more 🙂

  2. Love this!
    It also has potential application for other aspects of uncovering a character – even if only for the writer so see in the early drafting / editing stages.

    1. Thank you, Nick, that’s a good point. Sometimes we need to clear the clutter to get a perspective on just one angle. I must admit, I’m rather excited to think about different applications for this very simple technique 🙂

  3. Very clever, innovative writing and scary too. Great to see you pushing out the boundaries Suzanne, as you say with a very simple technique.

    1. Thank you, Tracy. I love the idea of making reading less of a passive activity. I know it engages thinking but it’s so easy, as a reader, to just go with the flow and to miss something the author probably wanted me to drop right into.

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