Boundbytheword Blog

keep updated in the world of Debris

Hello? September 29, 2011

It’s been too long my friends. My apologies for going missing from the blog. I can only say life gets in the way of living sometimes.


I’ve been busy preparing for upcoming writing workshops that I’ll offer to writers this fall and winter. I was recently certified as AWA Writing Group Leader. The AWA Training Program is a “comprehensive training program that provides instruction in leadership skills, experiential learning, ways to develop craft, and how to form successful groups for writers at all levels and from diverse backgrounds.” I have workshops for writers looking for to stretch their skill level and for new writers who are still shaking in their boots about putting pen to page. Something for everyone – emerging to experienced. If you are interested in writing workshops, check out my website and contact me if you have questions. I’d love to get you hooked on writing, or help you bring your work to a new level.


As for other news: My son hit grade 7 and now he brushes his teeth and his hair. He even puts on deodorant and selects clothes out of his drawers instead of grabbing whatever is within arm’s reach. It probably has to do with girls, but one thing hasn’t changed much about Sam – he doesn’t give out much information. The best I get is a smirk or blush when I say a girl’s name that hits the nail on the head.


How did I raise a boy to be so male? The other day I saw him gazing out into space and asked him the question every female asks at least 100 males over her lifetime.

“What are you thinking just now?”

He looked over at me, face still completely blank. “What?”

“What were you thinking about, when you were staring off?”


“You can tell me. Were you worried?”


“Were you remembering something? Thinking about someone?”

“No, I wasn’t.”

“Talk to me. I just saw you staring like that and wondered what you were thinking.”

“I wasn’t thinking, I was staring.”

“You weren’t thinking about anything?”

“No. Nothing.”

“So, like you were just blank – no brain waves happening – just empty staring?”


Seriously? How do males do this? Why do males do this? The only time I get close to thinking nothing is on the occasion that I meditate, and even then my mind is not actually blank – it is telling itself to be blank, telling my body to breathe, or telling my muscles to relax. I don’t know whether I envy or despise them for it, but I can say I don’t get it. Whether it was a boyfriend when I was 25 or my son many years later – when I ask “What are you thinking?” and get the “nothing” in response, I think they are just simply lying. Refusing to share their deepest thoughts with me. It drives me crazy, and that is what I would tell them I was thinking if a male every asked that question of a female. But they don’t ask. They are too busy staring.

I’m so glad I’m an old married gal and not dating these days. And as for my son’s reluctance to share his deepest thoughts, that can be some other girl’s problem.


18 Responses to “Hello?”

  1. Bill Swan Says:

    Noelle: You’ve noticed that it’s likely girls that have prompted your son to brush both hair and teeth, and to dress, um, better (in his mind, anyway). And then you wonder why he won’t share with you what he is thinking about. Nothing? It was likely something, and that something likely involved girls, and no, he wasn’t going to share that with mom, was he? When guys get that far-away look in their eyes, they are either thinking of the cosomological constant and the creation of the universe, pickup trucks and monster vehicles, or girls. Girls is likely the most common.

    We’re reticent, but not stupid. Well, maybe a little stupid. Okay, a lot stupid. But not stupid enough to share inner thoughts with mom. Not those thoughts, anyway.


    • Hi Bill,

      Females do have quite the impact on the male species, don’t we? I would never call men stupid. Exausting, bewildering, irritating, annoying, frustrating….even engaging, adoring, amusing, and intriguing. But there are certainly differences between the sexes. Though – now that you pointed it out so clearly…I can see why he wouldn’t share his thoughts with mom…but if he did I would make him feel better, right? Isn’t that what we do best?

  2. Bill Swan Says:

    By the way, great work on the Simcoe County group. I hope to get out to a meeting soon. Hear you have an awesome speaker coming.

    • Thanks Bill. I adore Gavy – what a lovely person and talented artist she is. I am lucky to have her on the board of directors (and Dan as an honourary member). It would be great to see you up there – and yes – next month with Terry Fallis would be timing. We are pumped about having him come to speak. Hope to see you soon.

  3. Rhonda Says:

    I have certainly missed your voice! Those are my thoughts exactly- I don’t get it. I don’t believe it. And it’s the lying part I don’t get.There is no way their mind is blank, it is not physically possible. So what is it about saying “nothing”? Why not say something like “It’s private” or “I would rather not say, but it is nothing to worry about”. Make something up if necessary but “Nothing” is insulting. I think the keen observation here is that universally men (and it apparently starts at adolescence) think this response is sufficient! Seriously?! Don’t they know that they have just set off major alarms in the female brain?! Maybe they know and they don’t care? But that doesn’t make sense either, surely they feel the price after they words are delivered and the female begins to interrogate. If they did it once, learned from it and never did it again, that would make more sense but it seems to be somehow instinctual?
    I give up, I just don’t get it.
    I am just thankful that I have no sons and no concerns about what is behind my husband’s stare!!

    • I miss you too!

      How much do you think we’d be having this conversation if we were still single? We’d be a mess! I’d like to say you should feel sorry for me dealing with a son….but dealing with two daughters – gorgeous and spunky ones at that – will have it’s own trials. Beating said boys off with a stick will be just one issue…lol!


  4. Okay, Noelle, I’ll concede the point that guys have a bad answer for the “what are you thinking” question. Seriously, Rhonda is right, it’s impossible to be thinking nothing.

    So why is it, when a woman is visibly annoyed, agitated, or plainly pissed off and a guy asks, “what’s wrong?” the answer they typically get is…


    Sometimes spoken between gritted teeth.

    Guys ain’t the only ones that are frustrating to talk to!

    • I laughed my green tea right out my nose – thank you Tobin!

      How right (and wise) you are! I guess a male’s “nothing” is fair trade to our “nothing’s wrong”. What a weird breed we all are.

  5. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    I’m not really sure this is a male-female thing, but maybe that’s just me. Maybe it goes along with the aversion to hugging.

    Honestly, I don’t get what compels some people to always want to know what everybody else is thinking. If I wanted people to know, I’d say it out loud. If asked, I’m likely to respond with “nothing” because it seems more polite than “none of your damn business,” although if I’m annoyed enough, the latter might slip out. Thoughts are private, that’s why they’re internal.

    • I don’t know that I’ve even caught you staring out blankly into space, but if I do…I won’t ask! 🙂

      I think the thing that compels people – or at least me – is wanting to know everything is all good. That need to keep waters smooth. It’s a sickness really. Life is full of stormy waters, but I will try to control them as much as I can. I’m like a big overbearing Titan.

  6. This is my first time visiting your blog. I took Tobin Elliott’s advice and I’m glad I did.

    I have only raised girls though I have a lot of friends who say the same thing about their boys. I’m not sure staring out into space and thinking about nothing is a gender thing, but it always reminds me of a line in D.H. Lawrence “Lady Chaterley’s Lover.” Unfortunately my mind is far too poor to remember it exactly, but it was something like, “What are you thinking about?” “Nothing,” she would say. And it was true…her life, interests, and children were simply there, a presence too natural to be felt.

    Maybe I am just an oddball, but I can let my mind collapse and think of nothing with alarming regularity. That should scare me and anyone around! In regards to your son…if I had to guess…girls are the means to his silence and the reason for the new hygiene habits. Thanks for the great read.

    • Hi Annie – Welcome aboard! If you’re a reader of Tobin’s I have my work cut out for me to be both witty and wise – yikes!

      I am envious of anyone able to shut off their brain in order to recharge, refocus, or for no darn reason at all! Wonder why mine is wired on overdrive even when I’m asleep. Adult ADD.

      Thanks for connecting and look forward to hearing your comments!

  7. Dale Long Says:

    HAHAHA!! I love the responses so far. Bill is absolutely right, I totally agree with Tobin, and I laughed at Lisa’s response “If I wanted people to know, I’d say it out loud.”

    For Rhonda and you, I’d like to expand on Bill’s explanation. Nothing doesn’t always mean nothing, sometimes it is something but it is something that may be nonsense or something we think in nonconsequential, just bits of random thoughts, loose and scattered, that is the mental version of watching clouds float by. Nothing we can put into words.

    Please accept nothing as a proper answer. Pushing the issue won’t make us tell you, it’ll just weld our mouths closed. After the first question, just wait. If we want to talk about it, a comfortable accepting silence may just do the trick.

  8. Erica Says:

    I really missed your blogging! Glad to see something new! Hope to see you soon!

    • The curse of the writer trying to make money and keep a blog updated…money or funny? Sometimes I pick money…lol. I am back at it so I look forward to hearing your comments too!

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