Restless night

Last night, for the first two hours after taking a pain killer, I dipped in and out of half-sleep, woken by the same imperative repeated over and over—don’t forget two threads of the story, the two characters in a boat, the other two on the mountain, remember how the threads pull together.

Two hours of this anxiety that I might forget the vital elements of the plot of the story plagued me before I woke completely, the pain too bad to sleep and the anxiety still there.

on the water

a boat with swan’s wings


But what is the story? Not one that I am writing. Who are the two people in the boat? What is their relationship with the two climbing the mountain? I wish I knew. Perhaps it is a story waiting to be written, the voice urging me to remember, the voice of what we call the Muse.

And what if I were to write the two wandering threads?


wreathes the mountain

swan’s wings


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

44 thoughts on “Restless night”

  1. It’s almost as if your muse has started her work even before us, and connected us with a thread of comments. I love parallel stories which converges near the end. Maybe if our flash fiction did strike a chord, we can develop it? but for now, I am excited to just think and write something.

      1. I like to think that these little things I do makes me a better writer in ways that I don’t realize, and even if it doesn’t, the joy of plucking a story out of imagination itself is satisfying enough.

      2. You have to keep writing to get better at it. All the time, and read it over, correct, check word choice, syntax, everything. It is satisfying to know that you’ve written something worth reading.

      3. It is. That’s all I need. Sometimes, I want people to acknowledge that and it feels good when they do. But I just want to feel confident that I can write good stories, and good books.

  2. I’m sorry you’re in such pain, but your mind seems to be onto something wonderful. That boat with swans’ wings sounds magical and beautiful.

    I wish I could remember the play I was writing in my dreams one night. 😉

    1. I hate being in pain, but who actually likes it? I don’t even know what I did this time.
      Jay suggested we write something in collaboration which was weird in the light of this story, so we have done. I’m glad.
      I wonder what your play was about? It might resurface one day.

      1. Well, then something came of it.
        I often write lines of poetry when I’m in a half-sleep stage or dreaming, which I never really remember, but a play was strange. It seemed brilliant in my dream, of course. 😉

  3. Do you keep a notebook by the bed? If I get an idea intruding on my sleep I try and jot it down (if I’m awake enough) and use it for free writing in the morning, often with surprising results.
    I once met a well-known and successful writer who told me that the stories are there in my subconscious but sometimes the conscious mind has to catch up.

  4. You’re aren’t Superwoman? I don’t know, I think maybe you are. If it doesn’t drive the writer mad, I suppose threads are good. Certainly nothing wrong with their escaping, meandering (or running full force) in their own ways. They can converge or not, I imagine. Your use of wings in the two threads is a creative treat in both places.

    1. I’m glad you see something creative in my meanderings. Pulling/straining/tearing muscles in my back is something I do far too often. I don’t like taking any medication because it usually makes me ill, but the pain drives me mad, especially when I’m trying to go to sleep. Exercise, weights is the solution maybe but doing exercises is so boring!

      1. I know about you, your pain and your painkillers. It’s an awful choice to have to make. I’m not taking anything tonight (except a glass of wine) and hope last night’s pill still has a lingering effect.

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