We recently published Donna Vorreyer’s beautiful “Silence Is Golden or Maybe a Weapon.”

Here, we ask her two questions about her story:

1) This story makes reference to one of my most-hated idioms: “Children should be seen and not heard.” What do you think of this idiom? What does your character think of it?

Having taught middle school for over 30 years and having parented a creative and verbal son, I hate this idiom. My own household growing up was full of conversation and music and sound, and I can’t fathom how anyone could ever expect a child to be silent all the time. I expect people who feel this idiom to be true are those who don’t really like or understand other people. Of course, there are places and times where being quiet is appropriate…but to expect a child, or anyone, for that matter, to move through the world in stealth so as not to disturb someone else is a control issue. I think my character has learned the power of not being heard and learned to wield it. Thus the sentence “She has given her parents what they always wanted, and now they don’t want it.” She’s decided that being seen and not heard is the best way to take the power back.

2) I like how you take this teenage rebellion and make it a silent thing — a response to the parents without a verbal response. How long do you think it took before they realized their child wasn’t speaking at all?

I think it probably took a while. They seem like the sort of parents who would be pretty pleased that she was “finally doing as she was told.” If I had to guess, I’d say it may have taken a phone call from the school (which would have embarrassed them, by the way) for them to realize it was actually happening.