virtual silence


virtual silence


nobody comments
on my haiku

Prof. John Stackhouse

E-mail Silence:
I’m Not Writing Back Because I Hate You

I’ve come to see e-mail silence–when someone takes longer to reply than I think she should–as a Rorschach test. How I interpret that void, how I fill it in, tells me what’s in my mind to use as filler.

Earlier this year, a friend of mine in another city did not reply to several e-mails I sent him over three months. I passed through a succession of emotions: denial (”It’s no big deal”) to anxiety (”I wonder what’s wrong”) to anger (”That conceited jerk!”) to sadness (”He doesn’t like me anymore”).

Finally, he did reply, and told me that he and his professional website had encountered a terrible series of problems with their ISP that lasted, yes, three months, and he was only now back online and catching up.

Have you ever had to take one of those psychological tests consisting of sentence stem completions? They look like this: “When I walk into a room, I feel ____” or “When people look at me, they think ___.” Well, e-mail silence is like that: “My boss isn’t writing me back right away because ____” or “My father isn’t writing me back right away because ____” or “My girlfriend isn’t writing me back right away because ______.”

What I fill in tells me something of what I have in mind to fill it in with. And when I consider my customary reactions to e-mail silence, I sometimes don’t like what I see.

Cognitive therapist Dr. David Burns warns us against “mind reading” and “catastrophism,” the habits of mind by which (1) we assume we know what someone else is thinking and (2) we assume the worst. Indeed, a therapist friend of mine says that most people who engage in mind reading also engage in catastrophism, rather than assuming positive motives: “He’s not writing me back right away because he’s mulling over just which superlatives to use!”

Read it all HERE

 © John Stackhouse


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some comments

Love your senryu, Gabi!
And a good question...
it's funny how I can sense what I like or don't like about someone else's work, yet
can't tell about my own!
But as you say, when the comments are contradictory... that doesn't help much!

I remember your "silence of stones"... an awesome haiku!


bright autumn day -
listening to the silence
of stones growing older

This one's lovely, Gabi. And if we listen carefully, what will we hear, I wonder? Thanks for sharing this.


I say, think positive thoughts.
A autumn leaf desires nothing else than to be a leaf. Silence is only uncomfortable for those that need it filled. My thought for the day..


Hi Gabi,

I'm not sure we've met but it's a pleasure to read you!

your 'silence of stones' haiku is inspired, I truly enjoyed it!

this is a very interesting thread... I believe we sometimes assume the worst
because an ego is a fragile thing that needs careful handling and we all have a little...
after all, doesn't society teach us to "look out for #1"..,


Ahh yes... I ALWAYS assume, when there no comments, that my haiku so stunned the reader with its grace, trueness to form, and sense of wonder that they COULD NOT recover composure enough to respond...

THEN, I hasten back for a 're-write-...


gabi, my silence, virtual or actual, on this only means I've been to busy to check in for the last few days.


More of my Haiku about SILENCE !

Read my Haiku Archives 2007


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