Bed bugs

For a week I’ve had the most terrible dreams–rats infesting the basement, vacuuming hoards of spiders from the garage, abductions, rages, lost parts of things important.

First I thought it was a mounting holiday tension brought on by lists I make for myself but fail to write down. I keep files in the well-worn parts of my mind: cookies, pies, stockings, cat litter, dusting. My kids are still so small, my plans are so much bigger and every time I have to step back and step off leaving a little bit undone.

But the holidays came and we were festive with our families. Santa left pressies under the tree. Little girls slept and laughed and played. Still the dreams, all ugly and inconsistent, crawled through the night and made nests in my hair. On Christmas Day, I pulled a muscle in my neck. I was confined to the couch or bed for two days.

Maybe it was my body yelling, those dreams.

Finally, on the last day my husband had off work, I was mobile again. The house had collapsed under the chaos. We organized and cleaned and stacked as best we could. I went to bed without a hot water bottle and slept hard. Still, the dreams clamored in fits teasing the underlids of my eyes. I woke several times clear and certain of a thing that would be forgotten in an hour’s time.

I’ve hardly written this month. After the deep breaths and constant work of November Nano I hardly count this month as written at all. And then there are the hard facts, it’s almost a whole new year. The one goal I set for myself didn’t happen. I was a born reject with too few submissions sent out to constitute a whole lot of trying. But write I did, I wrote myself a whole new set of rules starting with just plain truth–ugly or no.

So, maybe that’s it–the rats in my basement, the spiders in my garage–anger and frustration with myself over not getting and not meeting my own expectations. Maybe I should just take my husband’s advice then and cut myself some slack. Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep.

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About E. Victoria Flynn

E. Victoria Flynn is a mother and a writer living in Southern Wisconsin. Published in a variety of venues, Victoria is currently writing the first in a series of three fantasy novels based on Cornish folklore. When not taking part in a shrieking dance party or engrossed in her own little fictions, Victoria is keen on art, the natural world and people unafraid to explore their own brilliance.
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4 Responses to Bed bugs

  1. Sunny says:

    I completely understand what its like not to rest during sleep. Most nights since my husband died have been littered with similar stress dreams. You may well be right. It could be sub-level frustration at not quite achieving the goals you set out for yourself in 2010. Though, consciously I am sure you know that sometimes its good to take a step back from your passion – be it writing or otherwise, so that you can return to your craft with fresh eyes. My sense is that your subconscious/higher self/God/The Universe, or whatever you want to call It, is guiding you along as it is supposed to- even though it may not be apparent to you in your dreams. So use those icky dreams as fuel for your work like you did here on this post. A writer with your talent can surely transform that kind of creepy crawly ugliness into a thing of grace and beauty…What a true gift you have! Your day is well on its way. Its just a matter of time.

  2. I know what you mean about the sleep too, V. Give yourself a break and be kind to your body and mind. I know how talented and wonderful you are. Also, PLEASE let me know if I can do anything to help, honey. 🙂 xoxoxo

  3. Beth says:

    And hugs. Sleep and hugs. I am so much tougher on myself than anyone else would ever think of being, and it’s clear to me that you are cut from the same cloth. (Many of us writerly folk are from that bolt.) Consider yourself hugged, and if you ever doubt your talent, email me, I’ll call you, we’ll talk.

  4. Christine says:

    It might feel that you’re not a “real writer” unless you get published. Personally, I feel strongly that you are a writer if you write. Period. The publishing world is so difficult to crack. My sister wrote what I think is a beautifully written novel and has had no luck in getting it published despite the help of two friends who have published several books between them. What’s extremely frustrating is that sometimes absolute crap gets published while other, better works never make it out of “the slush pile.” Even getting published is not all one might hope. As you know, a handful of lucky writers do make millions on books. However, most of us don’t earn enough to quit our day jobs. I once wrote an article on a woman with breast cancer who started a business called “Choose Hope.” I spent almost three hours in her living room interviewing her. She told me about her battle with a particularly deadly form of breast cancer and her desire to raise her kids. Chris McHugh was my age, and her kids were about the same age as my kids. I told Chris about my mother’s battle with cancer and how she almost died. (My mom got down to 80 pounds in the hospital.) We laughed, and we cried. When it was all over, I transcribed the tape. My editor gave me a word count limit of 800 words. There was so much material that I would have liked to share with readers and couldn’t use. I spent hours on that article. For me, it was a labor of love. I calculated later that I would have earned more money per hour if I had worked at a McDonald’s. What I’ve had published has not necessarily been my best or most deeply felt writing. I’m proud of some of the articles, because at times the feedback I got from readers made me realize that my article had helped someone. But believe me, when I was 9 years old and dreamed of being a writer, I wasn’t dreaming of writing on homebanking for a credit union magazine! I’m sorry this comment is rather lengthy, but it is heartfelt. Writing with little kids is so hard. Whatever time you can carve out–do it. And don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do more. If you write, you’re a writer. Sooner or later you’ll get that lucky break. In the meantime you could do what one woman did: wallpaper her bathroom with rejection slips! 🙂

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