Don’t let the ‘fleas of life’ get in the way of your goals

First off, I apologize for my disappearance. Updating my blog on a weekly basis is important to me, but sometimes the “fleas of life” intervene. What are they? Well, they can be literal fleas (in my last apartment they sprung from the carpet, constantly making my skin crawl) or the setbacks of daily living, drawing my focus away from writing.

I stumbled across this post by author Dani Shapiro in which she describes her experience dealing with the fleas of life. She’d read an interview with novelist William Styron,  in which he said, “Writers ever since writing began have had problems, and the main problem narrows down to just one word—life…every writer since the beginning of time, just like other people, has been afflicted by what a friend of mine calls “the fleas of life”—you know, colds, hangovers, bills, sprained ankles, and little nuisances of one sort or another. They are the constants of life, at the core of life, along with nice little delights that come along every now and then.”

Yes! This advice from 58 years ago still rings true. In fact, I was too hungover on Saturday to get any writing done, and on Sunday errands and household chores consumed the daylight hours. A very aggressive bluish green mold is taking over our bedroom, so my fiancé and I have been banished to the ‘man cave’ next door. Better safe than sorry? Let me tell you, I haven’t slept in a week.

Between the blaring television (he likes it on, I can’t stand it) and the hard mattress on the floor, I feel like I’m in an evil lab experiment to determine when I lose my mind. This living situation transports me back to the days of his purple futon, nestled in a cluttered Victorian house, shared with a bunch of Thai people. Only we’re not twenty-three anymore. And honestly, I preferred the futon.

My point is, all that time I spent freaking out and spraying down our bedroom with bleach (before giving up) was time taken away from writing. But that doesn’t mean I get to keep putting off  my blog, the short story I’m working on, and novel editing forever. Even though I’m so tired I don’t know if this post is coherent, it feels good to get words on the screen. This is me time. Writing itself is one of the “nice little delights” Styron refers to. At least I think so.

With that, I’ll drink a second cup of chai, get my laundry from the dryer, and be grateful my fleas are small ones. Life isn’t perfect right now, but I know it will sort itself out. So whatever your “fleas” are, continue writing, dreaming and staying on course. Because even if you’re awake past one in the morning (like me!) watching Pawn Stars on the History channel, it might just spark an idea.



10 thoughts on “Don’t let the ‘fleas of life’ get in the way of your goals

  1. That sounds like a lot of life fleas! I totally feel you. No mold here, thankfully, but 2 car repairs in less than 2 weeks + crazy work + absolutely FILTHY house = writing? What is writing?

    I took the day “off’ today (meaning I gave myself permission to only do a little bit of work instead of being chained to the laptop all day) and cleaned, opened windows, took a walk, tried to eradicate as many “fleas” as possible so the rest of my week is more conducive to writing.

    Hang in there, lady. Your writing will always be there if you need to shift focus to handle life fleas for a bit!

    1. Thanks Kristin! Yes, filthy house! Because our space got so much smaller (moving coffee table from living room/man cave into kitchen) it got out of control. But I had a really good clean yesterday and it looks OK now. I have a vacation to look forward to this weekend, so that will be a great way to relax. Fleas of life are unavoidable, but the key is not to let them become all consuming until you can’t see through the flea cloud! :) Thanks so much for the kind words

  2. Yep, sometimes “real life” has to take priority. My poor blog is forever getting put on the back-burner :-/ Oh, and don’t even get me started on the dust bunnies that are breeding on top of my refridgerator. BUT, I do make sure I keep to my WIP goals no matter what (I keep the goals small so they’re easy to attain, hehe ;). Write now, other than making sure my family is taken care of (you know, clean clothes and the occasional meal ;), that’s my number one priority. Spring cleaning can wait another month or two ;o)

    1. Hi Angela! Thanks for your comment. But your “real life” is so busy right now, it’s exciting! I’m sure there are so many steps, working towards publication. I admire that you don’t let your WIP sit on the back burner though. I need to be more diligent about that. Oh, and I didn’t cook last night either. So much for keeping the fiance fed! :P

  3. It sounds like we have the same life! We’ve got mould in our room too :( Its ‘in’ the wallpaper that was then painted over so no matter how many time we wash it off or paint with anti-mould stuff it comes back! My Mum was once telling me off for the ‘state’ of my flat (I was quite pleased you could see carpet and all the washing up had been done) and I managed to get her, a housewife of 30 years, to admit that housework is, essentially, pointless – Ha! Since then my writing has improved by at least 200 words a day… whilst the ‘path’ of carpet from door to door grows ever smaller… :p

    1. Ah! Our mold is in the walls too. Only they’ve been painted over, trying to hide the problem. But now it’s coming through the cracks. Evil landlords trying to poison us all! :( Haha, I don’t like having my mom over at my apartment either, for fear of what she’ll say about it. Sunday is the best day for visits because that’s the only day it’s clean. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. Its nice to meet you! :)

      1. Haha! Sunday is my cleaning day too! Tuesday – Saturday I tend to ignore knocks on the door :p thanks for having a look at my (rather sparse) blog too :)

  4. The “fleas of life” is such a wonderful way to put it. I’ll have to check out that Styron interview. More often than not I’m afraid I’m my own flea–oh maybe I’ll watch just ONE more episode of SVU… tsk tsk!

    1. Haha, SVU scares me too much! I’m definitely my own flea too sometimes, though usually procrastinating online is what gets me. The train wreck shows that suck me in are all the crap on TLC like My Strange Addiction and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding! :) Yes

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