Stalking and the Thirteenth Fairy

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I am conscious when I write in my blog, that my spelling must look odd in some cases to my largely American audience of bloggers. Language is funny like that. Yet there is at least one Australian blogger who will take me to task if I fail to write in the so-called ‘King’s English’.

Suddenly I become self-conscious. What are these thoughts and why bother to write them down? Self-doubt, I tell myself, is the enemy of the written word. Self-doubt paralyses. Do not pay it any heed.

I emailed an old friend recently and he has not emailed back to me. It leaves me in a quandary. Do I send another email with the thought that he no longer wants to have anything to do with me? Do I persist in making contact with someone who presumably has better things to do with his time than waffle on to me?

I have written letters before the days of email that went unanswered. Unanswered letters always trouble me, especially the long letters, the ones I went to some trouble to write, the ones I filled with my deepest thoughts.

I think of these letters lying dusty and yellow on a post office floor somewhere, or worse still lying unopened in a rubbish bin, or destroyed by now because they did not reach their destination or because the person to whom I wrote did not want to hear from me.

I have been thinking about such attempts to reach a person who may or may not want to hear from me in the context of ‘stalking’. The word seems to me to be a relatively new one.

Stalking, the notion of following someone, intruding upon them unannounced and refusing to accept the first of many rejections. It is such an easy thing to slip into.

I sit here and agonise over whether another email to this friend who did not get back to me would be seen as an unwelcome advance and therefore how long before it becomes a case of stalking.

Stalkers to me are like clinging babies. The more a mother pushes her baby away the more the baby clings. For some people it seems it is the only way to have a passionate and meaningful contact, contact only with someone who does not want them.

The Internet is rife with opportunities for a type of stalking, made worse because so much of it can go undetected, and therefore seemingly made safe for the stalker.

These days we do not need to be told about a person from another we can simply Google said person and voila, we can find out all manner of things.

I Google people almost out of habit these days as if the Internet is my street directory, my address book and one that contains not only the location of a person but other details as well.

And people, some people it seems want to be stalked like this. They want others to ‘follow’ them, as in blogdom. They count the number of times someone has visited their site, their webpage, their blog.

Is this not a way of facilitating the process of stalking and all those unwelcome spam comments, all those visiting ‘trolls’, are they not like stalkers, too?

This reminds me of the Thirteenth Fairy. You know the story? A variation on Sleeping Beauty.

The king and queen for years had wanted a child but were unsuccessful. When finally the queen gave birth to her baby daughter they were overjoyed and decided to hold a party for the entire kingdom. They invited every single person in the kingdom, right down to the lowliest. They sent off courtiers throughout the kingdom to make sure that not a single guest remained uninvited.

During the celebrations, the fairies of the kingdom all stood up in turn to offer the baby their many gifts. The one offered health, the other happiness, another offered beauty, until finally the twelfth fairy rose and raised her wand in readiness to offer the baby her gift, when out of nowhere the Thirteenth Fairy appeared.

She was furious. Why had she not been invited? She leapt in front of the Twelfth Fairy and brandished her wand.
‘I wish the baby death.’
Then she disappeared as fast as she had arrived. The people were devastated. What could be done?

The Twelfth Fairy stepped forward again.
‘I have not the power to undo the damage inflicted by the Thirteenth Fairy but I can reduce its impact. Therefore, on her sixteenth birthday the princess will prick her finger on a spindle. She will not die but she will sleep for one hundred years and wake only to a prince’s kiss.’

No doubt you know the rest of the story, how it unfolds. What preoccupies me here, and what I have pondered often is the role of the Thirteenth Fairy. She would have been invited presumably had she not hid herself away.

Is she the one who represents envy? Is she a variation on the stalker, the one who attaches herself to others, only through malice.

But can this be? Stalking has to be different from envy.

Stalking derives from possessive or misguided love, love that is unrequited. To me stalking, as I said earlier, is more like the behaviour of a clinging baby. Envy is something else entirely, and something we all suffer from to varying degrees.

Could it be that the one who rejects is envious of the one who is open and welcoming in her approach, and the envious one cannot bear to be touched warmly therefore she pushes the other away.

I seem to be going around in circles here with such vague emotional constructs.

I think of them now in the context of my unmet email. How to proceed?

I shall stop blogging now and try one more time to contact my friend. I shall be sure I have the right address, and if I do not hear from him, I shall accept my lot and mourn the loss of another good friend.

For such is the nature of friendships, they come and go. And sometimes there is little we can do to stop the process for it involves another and we cannot get control over another person’s desires for us, however much we might try.

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63 Comments on Stalking and the Thirteenth Fairy

  1. steven
    January 6, 2011 at 11:49 pm (6 years ago)

    elisabeth – i wonder constantly why i blog. there's a purpose to it that runs beyond the mundane surface relational piece.
    to find out more . . . hmmmmm well, i am not on facebook – but you may already have found that out! i do not twitter. i don't own a cellphone, in fact i am likely in the lower informational echelons of the net. but i blog, voluminously. i have no old friends other than my family. i connect with people and then disconnect and reconnect. i never trouble them with the need to reconnect, it happens, it doesn't. i'm content either way. no expectations!!! steven

    Reply
  2. Elisabeth
    January 6, 2011 at 11:58 pm (6 years ago)

    Ah, Steven, you're so different from me in so many ways and yet we both blog.

    Isn't that part of the joy of it all?

    Blogging is a form of connection, however 'artificial'. The connection I have with my so-called 'real' friend runs deeper, I feel, or at least his rejection hurts me more.

    And now I must get back to my 'more serious' writing work.

    I've felt rejected in blogdom, often, but usually I can brush it aside, though not always.

    I wish in some ways I were as mellow and without expectations as you, Steven, but I'm afraid I'm not.

    It would be boring, though, if we were all too much alike.

    Thanks, Steven. I enjoy your comments very very much.

    Reply
  3. Kat_RN
    January 7, 2011 at 12:55 am (6 years ago)

    An interesting post. When I think of a clinging relationship, I tend to think of the mother as the one who won't let go. I wonder why? As for the email, I hope you get a response, I do not think it is stalking unless the other party tells you they do not want to be contacted.
    Kat

    Reply
  4. Kirk Jusko
    January 7, 2011 at 1:53 am (6 years ago)

    I'm American and I don't think I've noticed any differece in the way you spell. In fact, I imagine you talking in an American accent, though intellectually I know that's unlikely.

    I check my site meter all the time. I don't consider it an ivitation to stalk. I just to if my blog's being read. If not, then I'm talking to myself.

    Reply
  5. Art Durkee
    January 7, 2011 at 2:04 am (6 years ago)

    It's only "stalking" if they ask you to stop and you don't. It's only stalking if a restraining order is ignored. LOL Trust me on this one, I've seen it. It's happened to me, and to a few of my friends.

    Stalking is obsessive. It's selfish, it's caring more about your own feelings than those of the other person. Stalking is about greed, which is the flip side of fear.

    That you are asking these questions of yourself proves satisfactorily that you are NOT a stalker. 🙂 Stalkers don't stop and do this kind of self-examination. Obsessive people never stop to ask if what they're doing is right or wrong. They're just not that self-aware.

    I think what you're on about here is self-doubt, which is a subset of self-worth and self-esteem, at root.

    We all have moments of self-doubt, of questioning. It's healthy, and it's normal. I think writers may do it more publicly, that's all. LOL

    Reply
  6. Two Tigers
    January 7, 2011 at 2:40 am (6 years ago)

    Elisabeth, your situation with the unanswered email seems to me to come down not to the issue of where persistent outreach ends and stalking begins, but a simple case of manners, something we have sadly lost in American culture and I fear also in those countries I kid myself are guarding the last bastions of courteous discourse. In my book, if I send you a letter, voicemail or email and you are either too busy in your life or too uninterested in me and mine, you tell me so. Quick honest note. Simple. It's a lazy and cowardly and sometimes cruel act to let silence speak for you. Most likely the person ignored will spend pointless hours agonizing and go right past "busy" or "not interested" to far worse scenarios. The ignorer then creates an unequal relationship of Self-Doubting Petitioner and Oblivious Rejecter that can sometimes never be set right, and could have easily never been set wrong. Apologies. Pet peeve of mine. But I love that you take a stab at these things! Brava!

    Reply
  7. Christine McCombe
    January 7, 2011 at 2:46 am (6 years ago)

    As a form of personal communication I think email is particularly prone to misunderstandings, misinterpretation and crossed wires. Maybe your friend is incredibly busy / having a difficult time / away on holidays and away from a computer. It is so easy (and I say this from personal experience) to interpret email silence as rejection when often it is not about YOU but about the other person's situation.

    Reply
  8. Glenn Ingersoll
    January 7, 2011 at 2:57 am (6 years ago)

    Yeah, like Art says, it's stalking when you tell the person firmly (& more than once) that you do not want them to contact you – and they ignore your wishes and continue to get in your face.

    Not to say that short of that a person can't be annoying or rude. But I, for one, can be a poor correspondent and don't mind a person being persistent in trying to get my attention – my own behavior is also why I try to forgive others for (seemingly) ignoring me.

    One of the things that makes your writing compelling, Elisabeth, is the way you work over your hurt/conflicted feelings, the way you worry them until they're a bit ragged. Maybe it's healthier mentally to shrug stuff off, but if you did you would be a different writer.

    Reply
  9. Ms. Moon
    January 7, 2011 at 3:02 am (6 years ago)

    I don't worry about it all. Is that weird?

    Reply
  10. R.H.
    January 7, 2011 at 3:46 am (6 years ago)

    I stalk women in supermarkets, follow them around (the gorgeous ones) I like a thorough examination.
    You stalked me at Copperwitch.

    Reply
  11. Pandora Behr
    January 7, 2011 at 3:51 am (6 years ago)

    You're not stalking, Elisabeth. One of the things that the internet does give you is the right to not reply. Unlike the old days where people picked up their phones because you didn't know who was on the other line, these days, you can see exactly who is on the line.

    I know how hard it can be when people don't reply or leave you hanging.

    Good luck with that. Pand

    Reply
  12. Windsmoke.
    January 7, 2011 at 5:26 am (6 years ago)

    I don't worry or lose any sleep over spelling mistakes, when i notice a spelling mistake i consult my dictionary, correct it and move on. You're very far from being a stalker, so if your friend won't reply to your e-mails or letters sounds like you have to mourn the loss of a friend and you need to move on, friends come into our lives for a short time then disappear, that's life. Never heard of the thirteenth fairy story before.

    Reply
  13. River
    January 7, 2011 at 7:14 am (6 years ago)

    Friendships do come and go. I lost a valuable friendship about 10 or so years ago, my own stupid fault. Now I don't know how to mend the bridge or even if I can.

    Reply
  14. Elisabeth
    January 7, 2011 at 7:36 am (6 years ago)

    There are mothers who cling, Kat, and who can sometimes contribute to such anxiety in their child that it looks like the child cannot bear ro be separate.

    It sometimes happens in cases of school refusal, as I understand.

    The child picks up on the mother's anxiety about being abandoned, a legacy no doubt from the mother's own childhood experience, and then the child becomes fearful of going off to school.

    Life is complex, our emotions can get twisted together and sometimes it's hard to tell where one person's experience begins and ends.

    Thanks, Kat.

    Reply
  15. Elisabeth
    January 7, 2011 at 7:55 am (6 years ago)

    My accent is Australian, Kirk, fancy you hearing me with an American one. My daughters can imitate other people's accents well, but I can't.

    Fair enough you check your blog meter. I do, too. As you say, who wants to be talking to themselves. I don't.

    Reply
  16. Jim Murdoch
    January 7, 2011 at 11:24 am (6 years ago)

    In my last job I there was a girl I was friends with. I make no bones about it, I loved her like my own daughter; she’s actually two years younger than my own daughter. I think what caused us to bond was work ethic and it wasn’t unusual towards the end of my time there to find both of us in on a Sunday doing unpaid overtime. The only thing we really had in common was work and although we met socially our conversations always revolved around some aspect of work. When I left we met up once for my birthday but then things went quiet. I dutifully sent Christmas cards but nothing came back in the post. Then I got an e-mail telling me that she’d lost her baby. Immediately I replied telling her I’d be happy to meet up with her, all she had to do was name the time and the place. I then sat down and wrote the poem ‘Still Birth’ which you will have read in my collection. I never sent her a copy though because I felt it was too soon. Anyway time went on and no reply, I sent her a Christmas card and no response and I’ve just sent her a second one – including my e-mail address – but, so far, no response. I’m not quite sure what to do. But I suspect I’ll do nothing. I miss her – I missed her terribly at first – but I also know all we’d talk about would be work and perhaps it’s best to let things die a natural death.

    Do I feel rejected? Not really. I simply don’t think there’s any place in her life for me now. When we were working we were allies, we both knew we had each other’s backs (and considering the backstabbing that went on at the time that was important) but then I left and although she coped I do wonder if subconsciously she felt I’d abandoned her. I doubt it but you can’t not wonder.

    I have been guilty of stalking in the past and I’m aware that I can allow myself to be a little needy. I keep it in check but it’s never gone away. I recall a scripture from years ago which said something like let your foot be rarely at your friend’s door and I remember it being explained to me as an instruction not to overwhelm your friends. I didn’t heed that warning with my first proper girlfriend. The relationship lasted three months and I think I saw her every day of those three months. Even when she went to visit one of her girlfriends I turned up on the friend’s doorstep. I was in love, I wanted to be with her and I imagined she felt the same. (How could she not if she loved me?) As it happens she didn’t love me. She only said so because I badgered her into it. Looking back now my conduct was . . . God, I can’t think of a suitable adjective to say how badly I behaved and all out of a poorly conceived notion of what love was all about.

    I don’t google people from my past very often. I have done. I googled that girlfriend, oh, maybe ten years ago, and found out that she’s still single and even her address but I’ve never tried to contact her although if I did it would be to apologise for my immaturity (I was only sixteen but that’s still no excuse). I’ve actually now lost touch with every friend I’ve ever had in the real world; online friendships fill their place, people who can relate to the me I am now and not look for the me I once was (or the me they thought I once was). I think the important thing is to realise that growing apart is not a bad thing – nothing is wrong with you and nothing is wrong with them – but if people follow a natural course it is inevitable that common ground will decrease and finally vanish altogether. I could still have a lot of my old friends but it was more important that I be true to myself; everything has its price.

    Reply
  17. Bella
    January 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm (6 years ago)

    Hello Elisabeth, Isn't it odd how much we all crucify ourselves over such things? I would post on my blog whether it were read of not, but it is more fun knowing people do read it.

    In these days of easy communication it has never been so easy to lapse into a form a paralypsis and (maybe inadvertently) hurt another by the sheer act of doing nothing.

    If it were me, I would contact them again, checking if all is OK. If there is no reply, they have probably moved on. It is likely nothing to do with you, it is just people seem to move in their own bubbles.

    Wishing you a happy 2011 and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Reply
  18. Anthony Duce
    January 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm (6 years ago)

    I have had so many of the same thoughts, guilt, the wonderings as you express here. I don’t see stalking in the situations you note. I see caring and a desire to hold on to friends, and a desire to communicate and be part of something larger then your present world, a good way to be.

    Reply
  19. Kass
    January 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm (6 years ago)

    You've touched on some pretty sore joints in this aging communicator/connector. I worry about the same things and blogging has helped me be healthy about my neediness and compulsiveness. When I had to leave blogging alone while caring for my mother, it didn't make me anxious as I had anticipated, but I wonder if I needed a really good excuse to not blog, wonder if I suddenly stopped blogging again would people feel abandoned. I flatter myself to think that anyone really cares. I know I feel rejected if a regular commenter fails to comment on one of my post, but less so as I practice being detached. We're all human and we connect at the level of our caring.

    Reply
  20. Marshall Stacks
    January 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm (6 years ago)

    dear Elisabeth (and Jim) – many of us thwart unwanted examination by not having our real names online.
    Maybe your correspondent is having a brawl with his ISP (most likely Telstr*) and is offline. or his PC is being repaired. Let us hope he is not in hospital or worse.
    For a year I stalked the slag who lured my husband away from a 23-year marriage. It was in 1987 before the word stalker had been used for human prey rather than animals.
    I made her life an absolute misery. It made me feel good. betrayal catharsis.
    and Jim Murdoch (above) we ALL have to apologise for things we did at 16.

    Reply
  21. Ann O'Dyne
    January 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm (6 years ago)

    Your premiere blogpost also mentions unanswered letters.

    re your "I've felt rejected in blogdom" – you have 190 Followers so I think you are very well accepted.

    That 13th Fairy will meet her match when she encounters the Summer of the 17th Doll !

    Reply
  22. Elisabeth
    January 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm (6 years ago)

    I'm glad to hear that you t least don't consider me a stalker, Art. I'm sure you're right. there is the refusal to accept that the other does not want you around, but it's the origins of such an experience that intrigues me.

    Have you read Stephen King's 'Misery'? It's slightly at a tangent, but this book reminds me of the same obsessive need to control another, as manifested by the character in this book who wants her hero writer to write his book the way she wants, even if it kills him.

    Thanks, Art.

    Reply
  23. Elisabeth
    January 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm (6 years ago)

    I sent another email to my friend this morning, Two Tigers. I first checked that the address to which I had sent the last email is a current one and it may not be.

    So I'm crossing my fingers.

    Somehow I do not consider that this friend is rude, and as others here have suggested, there may be all sorts of reasons why he hasn't emailed back.

    That said, I'm intrigued by my own reactions to these things. How quick I am to worry about possible rejection, even as I try to dismiss such worries.

    Thanks, Two Tigers.

    Reply
  24. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 12:05 am (6 years ago)

    I'm sure you are right in this Christine. I too consider that email is a poor form of communication. Somehow when I send emails I often use truncated sentences. I slip the normal efforts I make at writing.

    Letters require more thought. Face Book entries are even worse and lord knows how many people get upset over Twitter comments. The quick grab can be like words spat out without thought. Dangerous.

    Thanks, Christine.

    Reply
  25. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 12:09 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks, Glenn. I think sometimes my worries look worse on the page than they actually feel internally.

    People sometimes respond to my posts in such a way that I begin to worry further that I have alarmed them .

    Perhaps it's because I sometimes dare to say what I think too loudly. I suspect others might have such thoughts, too, though perhaps not as often as me.

    And as you say, that's me, that's the writer I am, and if it were different I'd be a different writer. I might not even feel the need to write.

    Thanks, Glenn.

    Reply
  26. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 12:21 am (6 years ago)

    You're lucky not to worry about such matters, Ms Moon, not weird. Everyone's different.

    I suspect there are certain things that trouble you, that trouble me less.

    We all have our own particular Achilles' heel.

    Thanks, Ms Moon.

    Reply
  27. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 12:24 am (6 years ago)

    I'm not sure I stalked you at Copperwitch, Robert. I went there to see JahTeh, but found you there. I eavesdroped on your conversation though and butted in. So please forgive me my rudeness, if that's how you experienced it.

    I say this tongue in cheek because I doubt you were offended. I suspect you enjoyed yourself having me to spar with elsewhere. I enjoyed it, too.

    Thanks, R.H.

    Reply
  28. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 12:26 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks, Pandora. The 'rules' are somewhat different these days, I know.

    We can choose whether or not we respond more than we could in the past.

    But still it rankles when you're on the receiving end. No one wants to feel their overtures are unwelcome.

    Thanks, Pand.

    Reply
  29. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 12:31 am (6 years ago)

    Good that I introduced a new story into your life, Windsmoke.

    I am particular about spelling and feel bad about typos. Still they happen.

    I just sent a text message to a friend with whom I'm having lunch today and signed off as 'Los'. My usual nickname is Lis.

    I pressed the button before I had the chance to correct it.

    It seems strange to have a name such as Los, one 's' away from loss. I hope my friend realises it was a typo.

    She's a writer. writer's notice these things.

    Thanks, Windsmoke.

    Reply
  30. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 12:35 am (6 years ago)

    I'm sorry to hear that you, too, have lost a good friend, River, but you say it was your fault.

    Presumably you believe you said or did something to contribute to the rift.

    With my friend I'm not aware if having done anything, which makes it harder in a way. I can't apologise or anything. I feel therefore more helpless to heal any rift. It just might be that he doesn't like me anymore.

    That feels awful, though no doubt I'll survive. We can't all of us be liked by everyone all of the time.

    Thanks, River.

    Reply
  31. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 2:33 am (6 years ago)

    I'm touched by your story about your lost friendship, Jim. However much it was built around your workplace, it still counts as an important friendship.

    I suspect we cannot maintain all the contacts with people we meet throughout life, nor would we want to. But these special bonds we forge with people over time are something else again, and it really hurts when they die or disappear.

    That's perhaps one of the reasons why blogging is so powerful. We forge whole communities of friends, some close and others less so.

    A writing friend who reads blogs but does not have one herself, has commented a number of times to me about some of the people, like you, who comment on my blog.

    She seems as interested in my regular commenters as she is in my posts. It's like eavesdropping on a good conversation.

    As for condemning yourself for your 'neediness' of others, Jim, I would not be so harsh. As AnnODyne says later down the track here – I think it's AnnODyne – every sixteen year old has things of which they are ashamed, sixteen and every other year of our lives beyond.

    Thanks, Jim

    Reply
  32. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 2:37 am (6 years ago)

    I'm like you, Bella, I keep reaching out into silences.

    Whenever a member of my family gets into a snitch over something and then they withdraw, I tend to try to drag them out of it.

    Silent withdrawals are dangerous, I think.

    That's not to say that sometimes when folks are feeling hurt and angry they might need some time out but not for too long, I say. Too long can turn the hurt into something worse.

    Thanks, Bella – by the sound of things a woman after my own heart.

    Reply
  33. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 2:39 am (6 years ago)

    It's good to meet you here, Anthony, now after we have also connected on Face book. Thanks for your kind thoughts. I agree with you about the need for compassion but I can't help getting into a welter of guilt over certain things from time to time. Must be the Catholic upbringing.

    Reply
  34. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 2:42 am (6 years ago)

    I'm not big on detachment, Kass. I've tried it over the years but it never works for me. There's a long story to this that I might post on my blog about one day.

    In the meantime, I'm delighted to have you back blogging. I, for one, enjoy your presense in the blogosphee very much and I can tell that many others do too.
    Thanks, Kass.

    Reply
  35. Elisabeth
    January 8, 2011 at 2:46 am (6 years ago)

    Hi AnnOdyne and Marshall Stacks. I'm about to run out of the house and into the real world but I want to acknowledge your many thoughts here. It must have been ghastly to be so distressed that you should get caught up in stalking the ex's source of desire, the one that ruined your marriage.

    And I hope Jim reads your advice about his sixteen year old self.

    Thanks, I must rush now. Forgive me any typos etc.

    Reply
  36. R.H.
    January 8, 2011 at 6:38 am (6 years ago)

    I am very sure you stalked me at Copperwitch. And I'd know, being a stalker myself.

    You didn't do a very good job of it anyway, weak effort. You have a lot to learn!

    -Robert!!!

    Score: 6/10.

    Reply
  37. Ocean Girl
    January 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm (6 years ago)

    You picked an interesting subject every time Elisabeth. I do look forward to read your post when I see a new one published. It is indeed interesting that in a way we are looking for stalkers. I admit I do want my mind to be stalked and doubts abound. Why can't I write as well anymore, why can't I find something interesting to write about. Yet I do realise I need to take it easy and try not to worry too much and take it as a challenge.

    Reply
  38. Elisabeth
    January 9, 2011 at 7:19 am (6 years ago)

    Writing has a habit of sneaking up on you, Ocean Girl. So I think you're wise not to worry too much if you're out of ideas at the moment, they'll come again soon enough.

    As if I can talk. I'm an ace worrier, as is evident here, but I'm good at telling people not to worry. It's always easier when it comes to advising others.

    Thanks Ocean Girl.

    Reply
  39. Elisabeth
    January 9, 2011 at 7:20 am (6 years ago)

    I'm sure I have a lot to learn, R.H. On this we agree.

    Reply
  40. Christine H
    January 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi, Elisabeth. Thank you for your comment on my blog!

    I agree with one of the earlier commenters that "I check my site meter all the time. I don't consider it an ivitation to stalk. I just to if my blog's being read. If not, then I'm talking to myself." I, too, hate talking to myself. But I also don't want to invite people with truly harmful intent into my personal life, so I'm always trying to balance how much I share.

    I don't think you are stalking by trying a few times to contact someone. I have had numerous incidences where email was unreliable for a variety of reasons. Stalking would be looking up their home and work phone numbers and calling them several times a day!

    I'm American, but quite the anglophile, so I love reading blogs with British spellings, and prefer "grey" to "gray" in my own writing.

    I hope that you hear from your friend soon, to put your mind at ease. Have you ever seen the movie "What about Bob?" starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss? It's one of the funniest I've ever seen, and Murray has a line in there where he says that if he tries to connect with someone and they don't respond, he thinks of them as a telephone which is "temporarily disconnected."

    So perhaps your friend's line is just "temporarily disconnected."

    Reply
  41. Laoch of Chicago
    January 9, 2011 at 6:53 pm (6 years ago)

    Your post is lucidly expressed. Generally I feel that the idea of being able to control most situations is illusory. As such worrying about what other people will think or react is self defeating.

    Reply
  42. Zuzana
    January 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm (6 years ago)

    Dear Elisabeth, I too dislike unanswered email letters or text messages. It is like when in a conversation the other party is ignoring you by not answering your questions, requests or statements. It is a prolong dialog that ends abruptly. Add to it my slight paranoia and i can imagine all kind of reasons to the silence.
    Therefore I always try to answer all these way of correspondences myself to avoid causing anguish to others.;) Even though I know that sometimes the explanations to the silence are very reasonable and much less sinister than I often envision.;)
    xoxo

    Reply
  43. just jane
    January 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm (6 years ago)

    I too, mourn the loss of friendship. I am comforted by the knowledge that I am not the only one. I am sad though, when I realize, that I may have been the one to walk away.

    Reply
  44. Robert the Skeptic
    January 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm (6 years ago)

    My rule on correspondence, whether it is e-mail or written, is that messages sent to me "individually" (that is, I am the only intended recipient), deserve a response, if nothing more than to acknowledge it's receipt.

    It used to annoy me no end at work to e-mail a co-worker with a question and have them just ignore it. Like did they think it was "lost in the mail". It made me wonder were I standing opposite them and verbally asked them a direct question, would they just stand there staring at me mute?

    Businesses are horrible at this. Like they want to appear "hip" by having an e-mail address. They are more often not returned. So what is the point?

    I think it is EXTREMELY RUDE to ignore an e-mail. If someone no longer wants to hear from you, if they think you are stalking, they have an OBLIGATION to tell you that.

    Reply
  45. Hels
    January 10, 2011 at 1:48 am (6 years ago)

    I hear you when you talk about being self-conscious regarding blog-English. You said: "that my spelling must look odd in some cases to my largely American audience of bloggers. Language is funny like that."

    Older bloggers from Britain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other countries want to write well. Largely they try to keep up the standards they learned in school and do not want to use bad (ie American) spelling, bad grammar or textese.

    I used to tell my students that I won't deduct marks for bad spelling. But as it annoys me, I will be in a very bad mood when I come to read their writing.

    In the long run, using good English is a losing battle, but you have to maintain your standards.

    Reply
  46. A Cuban In London
    January 10, 2011 at 9:34 am (6 years ago)

    Fellow Scorpio, the possessiveness I don't show towards my wife, or rarely showed to any previous girlfriend was instead reserved for my friends.

    I understand your feelings because I have gone through a similar situation since I started blogging. Fret not, people come and go, the ebb and flow or cyber-energy renders this type of interaction normal.:-)

    Re stalking, I've always seen it from the point of view of it being a pathology, rather than love. Same with excessive jealousy. It's insecurity which, as we all know, can have nasty consequences.

    Many thanks for yet another brilliant post.

    Greetings from London.

    Reply
  47. Elisabeth
    January 10, 2011 at 9:46 am (6 years ago)

    My friend must have been 'temporarily disconnected', as Murray says, Christine.

    He finally recontacted on the weekend via email and we're meeting again tomorrow for lunch.

    So it would seem my worst fears about losing his friendship have not come to fruition though now I must contend with my own doubts about such a poor correspondent, one who takes so long to reply.

    Still all's well and hopefully I will be less sensitive about my friend's tardiness next time round.

    Thanks, Christine

    Reply
  48. Elisabeth
    January 10, 2011 at 9:47 am (6 years ago)

    I know fantasies of having control over others is illusory, Laoch, but I cant help myself at times.

    Thanks though for reminding me.

    Reply
  49. Elisabeth
    January 10, 2011 at 9:51 am (6 years ago)

    It's the paranoia, that gets to us Zuzana, a paranoia in the popular sense of the word.

    Such paranoia, it seems to me, is based on having too little information, not knowing what 's really happening and in our states of 'infantile' omnipotence, we are inclined to imagine the worst. And so it becomes, all my fault, which it rarely is.

    Thanks for the shared thoughts, Zuzana.

    Reply
  50. Elisabeth
    January 10, 2011 at 9:56 am (6 years ago)

    It's sadder I suspect when, as you say, you're the one who walked away Jane, because in a sense you re responsible for that loss of friendship.

    At least in my case I still carry the illusion that I was the victim,though in this case, not any more.

    As I told Christine earlier, and as I should have mentioned to Zuzana, my friend has rematerialised and all seems well, at least so far.

    We shall see what time together tomorrow brings.

    In the meantime, is it too late for you to reach out to your lost friend again, Jane?

    People's feelings can and do change over time. You never know.

    Reply
  51. Elisabeth
    January 10, 2011 at 10:01 am (6 years ago)

    I'm inclined to agree with you, Robert, about the need to respond to personal emails, or at least emails addressed to you as an individual, only it seems these days that not everyone responds in the same way.

    I know a number of people who scarcely even check their emails weekly, let alone respond to them in a timely manner.

    Some of us are slow to catch up with the technological revolution and the etiquette of email is still being sorted I suspect. What's rude to some like us, is commonplace to another.

    Thanks, Robert.

    Reply
  52. Elisabeth
    January 10, 2011 at 10:05 am (6 years ago)

    I agree Hels – using English as we were taught many years ago at school is a bit of a losing battle.

    At the same time I think some people can have a unique way of expressing themselves in writing that makes me want to overlook their spelling and grammar mistakes.

    Others simply cannot write in a meaningful way and I'm inclined to be less forgiving.

    Thanks, Hels.

    Reply
  53. Elisabeth
    January 10, 2011 at 10:11 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks my fellow scorpio blogger, Cuban. you are rigt, of course, stalking in its more formal sense is pathological, a possessive type of love that borders on hate. we might ense awhiff of it at times in ourselves but we an generally contain it.

    As for friends as you say particularly in bloggerdom, and as in life, friends come and go.

    I'm like this too I know. I try to visit everyone I follow regularly in the blogosphere but I simply cannot. Still I do my best.

    As I've mentioned to some others here, my fried has recontacted finally and we will meet over lunch together tomorrow. Such a relief.

    Thanks, Cuban.

    Reply
  54. -K-
    January 10, 2011 at 4:54 pm (6 years ago)

    When I get msyelf into this kind of thinking I re-read a brief essay by the poet Frank O'Hara, "Personism."

    http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20421

    Even if it doesn't address my particular issue at the moment, he encourages me to be a little bit more light-hearted about things and to, as he says, let the chips fall where they may."

    Reply
  55. Ruth
    January 11, 2011 at 10:15 am (6 years ago)

    I get attached to people, and then I wonder why I haven't heard from them. It is hard not to overdo, to hold myself back sometimes. So much can be read between the lines in distance relationships. It's hard enough with email, but thinking of snail mail letters, it is mind boggling. I remember recently reading a letter from John Keats to Fanny Brawne, and there seemed such desperation to hear from her. So many lovers over the centuries who have delivered their most intimate feelings into the hands of couriers, never knowing if they would reach their target, or if they would receive word back.

    Reply
  56. Phoenix
    January 12, 2011 at 1:54 am (6 years ago)

    I will disagree somewhat and say that stalking is not envy, it's what I would call Forced Inclusion. I think you summed it up a bit with wondering if the Thirteenth Fairy just hadn't hidden so well, she would have been invited and all would have worked out fine. But stalkers often feel like they are owed something – the lack of politeness in integrating themselves into someone's life is often a telling sign. And I have to say – writing an email to a friend, someone whom you already know – and then following it up with another email does not qualify as stalking in the most remote of universes.

    The Fairy thought she was owed something to be invited and included, and she was not, thus her wrath. Stalkers who are told in no uncertain terms that they have crossed boundaries are the most threatened, as the underlying need to be included is now being revealed the fact that they do not belong is exposed in the ugly light. Stalkers want to belong, more than anything, and they cling to those who give them that chance (and that attention.)

    Blogs certainly do create a space for people to assume they belong because the boundaries are electronic and blurred; the availability of a person is much more frequent; and of course, a wealth of information is available on most of us, thus giving the stalker a clear picture of our lives and therefore making the stalker feel as if he or she belongs in the picture.

    Also, for what it's worth: I have, in my great, vast, huge experience in this world (hah!) found that most of the time when a friend is unresponsive and uncommunicative – it is not personal. It is not about you at all, but rather the journey that your friend is simply on right now – and he or she may not have time for you, he or she may feel as if there is nothing to say – but I highly doubt it's about you.

    Much love to you this year. I know that 2010 was a challenge but I think we're both going to do (and be) great this year.

    Reply
  57. Elisabeth
    January 12, 2011 at 10:39 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks, Kass. I enjoyed O'Hara's manifesto. Thanks for putting me onto it.

    It's well worth the read and puts me in mind of a quote I heard elsewhere tonight from Maya Angelou:

    'A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.'

    Thanks, Kass.

    Reply
  58. Elisabeth
    January 12, 2011 at 10:44 am (6 years ago)

    I'm losing it. That last re;ply should be directed not to Kass but to -K- East of LA. I saw the K in hyphens and thought Kass. Forgive me.

    I repeat my comment here to you -K-.

    I enjoyed O'Hara's manifesto and thanks for putting me onto it.

    It's well worth the read and puts me in mind of a quote I heard elsewhere tonight from Maya Angelou:

    'A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.'

    Thanks -K-

    Reply
  59. Elisabeth
    January 12, 2011 at 10:49 am (6 years ago)

    Lost letters, love unrequited, it's excruciating isn't it, Ruth? – to feel it more so than to read about it. Though even when we read about it we can all identify.

    It probably lies deep in the sensibilities of most people who write to feel these things more acutely than most.

    I think of Rilke and Rumi. They both knew it well, only they had an ability with words to help transcend it.

    Thanks, Ruth.

    Reply
  60. Elisabeth
    January 12, 2011 at 10:59 am (6 years ago)

    Phoenix, you are so wise. I agree with your notion of a stalker as one who forces inclusion and I can see that I use the term a bit glibly here.

    After all this I have now finally met my friend again yesterday over lunch and I can see more clearly now that his absence has more to do with him than to do with me, as you anticipated

    My friend's been unwell and obviously had a lousy year. Nor does he want to discuss the details with me. So I must bear my sense of helplessness and get on with it.

    My 'do-gooding' tendencies are not always welcome and I need to get on with it, relieved to know it's not a rejection of me but more a case of a friend whose life has been derailed.

    It is so easy to interpret every thing that happens to those who are dear to us as a function of ourselves. i must resist the impulse.

    Thanks as ever, Phoenix. Here's to a wonderful 2011.

    Reply
  61. Rachel Fenton
    January 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm (6 years ago)

    I was stalked from my late teens to my early twenties – either side of a two year period of living away from my home town. Interestingly, my mother put a stop to it.

    And I lost a friend by the simple fact that she stopped replying. At first the letters got less frequent and then shorter and then more excuses as to why she was so busy. In one, tellingly, she said she had begun to dread the sound of the mail landing on the doormat!
    I was a prolific letter writer!
    After a period of almost a year of not hearing from her, I sent one last note to simply wish her well in her life.

    If I don't want to hear from people, I'm pretty straightforward about telling them.

    Reply
  62. Elisabeth
    January 13, 2011 at 9:23 am (6 years ago)

    I too have been a prolific letter writer in my time, Rachel. I still am to some extent.

    It is a way of writing I find – good practice – but by the sound of things it might sometimes be difficult for those on the receiving end unless they are otherwise likewise inclined.

    Thanks, Rachel.

    Reply
  63. who
    January 14, 2011 at 1:20 am (6 years ago)

    Hope things look up for you Elisabeth, thanks for dropping by my blog.

    Reply

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