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Greg Bardsley

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Fatigue

Each night, a fight

I don’t post here like I used to. Lots of reasons for that, but basically it all boils down to the fact I’m freaking busy.

Work. Family. Friends. Household duties.

And when I do have time — at night, when everyone is finally asleep — I work on my fiction projects. With one project, it’s in my agent’s hands. With the other project, a new novel, I have more to write. But I’m making progress nightly, and gaining speed.

To get here, I’ve sacrificed a lot of couch-vegetation, blogging cycles, Facebook cruising and sleep. I’m not the only one, to say the least. For an authentic look at the realities of  trying write novels in the face of 21st Century life, you really should check out the gut-wrenching blog post by the talented and well-reviewed Irish crime author Declan Burke, and the responses from authors facing similar challenges.

My own challenge is to keep the energy. When I’m halfway fresh, I’m dying to get to the writing. Then the remainder of the day takes another chunk of flesh out of me. When the day is nearly over and I actually have my personal time, I need to coach myself to the computer.

Self-talk.

Get your lazy ass off the couch, Greg. Turn the fricking TV off, now.

No, don’t look at that book; walk to the computer. Now.

Don’t wander into the kitchen, and don’t you dare check your email.

This is your time.

Tomorrow you’ll regret this lost opportunity.

Sure, you’re exhausted, but who isn’t?

“Mommy mommy, I’m tired. I can’t write. Waa-waa-waa.”

That’s my internal dialogue, at least.

Most days I make it to the computer, and once I’m there, I have a blast, get a little closer to creating something that might turn out kinda cool, something that might have a little something to say about life in a fun way. We’ll see. It’s all a huge gamble, but I guess I have to take it — as if I had any say in the matter.

Tomorrow night, another fight.

Some kind of inspiration

3amNot too long ago, I saw a guy walk past my desk eating something on a stick.

It looked like it had little legs, that thing on a stick.

It jarred me.

I soon realized it was just a corn dog, but it gave me a great idea for a short story. Well, that and the troubling reality of acronym-inflation.

Add an interesting item from my son’s recently acquired book on Northern California insects, and I had some of the primary elements of my new short story, “Some Kind of Rugged Genius,” which now appears in 3:AM Magazine.

Of course, if roasted rat on a stick, California stink beetles and acronym insanity ain’t your thing, you may wanna pass on this one.

And these are the things we say

“Honey,” she says, “I was sprawled out on the floor from exhaustion today, and I was looking at the ceiling, and I was thinking, we should’ve painted it a ligher shade.”

Later, I say sweetly, “I think it might be because of the fact I got two hours of sleep last night, but my vision is blurring and I can’t see colors. Would you mind showing me which piece of paper is yellow? Dylan needs a yellow piece of paper.”

“Oh, of course,” Nancy says, fighting off a smile.

Later, she says, “Honey, maybe it’s because I never fell back asleep aftrer taking care of Dylan’s wet bed at 1 a.m, but I’m losing my equilibrium whenever I walk. Do we have a cane around here?”

And so it goes.

Later, I say, lispy and slurred, “Honey, what’s my middle name again? I’m drawing a blank.”

“Are you serious?”

“Well, it may have something to do with the fact I’ve haven’t slept in 36 hours, but I can’t remember my middle name.”

And so it goes.

“Honey, I was passed out on the floor today, and the boys were running around me and racing Hot Wheels over my legs, and when I came to I think I saw a plate of mac-n-cheese under the couch.  I think it’s from that movie night Jack had last month. Would you mind getting that?”

And so it goes.

Someday we’ll get more sleep. I hope it’s before the boys leave for college.

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