A bump in the night and why not to be afraid

A bump in the night and why not to be afraid - www.alliepottswrites.com
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Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

My eyes snapped open. The room was dark, except for the clock’s display which showed it was only a few minutes past three in the morning.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

My heart raced. However, my husband’s rhythmic breathing to my side was a clear indicator that the sound from the downstairs hadn’t yet penetrated through his dreams as it had mine. It wasn’t the first time I cursed the sensitivity of my ‘mom’ ears.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

I sat up as I tried to imagine what could be causing the sound. We’d had unseasonably warm weather recently, enjoying a weekend of open doors and windows. Could an animal have gotten inside? It wouldn’t be the first time. I still recall the time several years ago when a neighbor’s cat managed to sneak through a pet door only to become confused and disoriented inside. But, I reminded myself, the pet doors were now sealed.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

My imagination expanded in the darkness. While the sound was quiet enough to be caused by an animal, it seemed unnaturally controlled and repetitive to be caused by something wild, but still not out of the realm of possibilities. I turned to my sleeping husband. Someone was going to have to risk the unknown. Someone had to go investigate. Someone needed to wake up.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

It seemed my preferred someone had developed an immunity to my glares over our years of marriage. I debated shaking him awake. Reminding myself that I am a strong woman capable of fighting my own battles (or at least screaming loud enough to alert the neighbors), I decided against it. It wasn’t as if I was going back to sleep without knowing the cause of the sound. While telling myself the sound could be a mouse, our dog or maybe even one of our children, as I’d caught Kiddo sleepwalking once before, I left the bed and slowly opened the bedroom door.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

Swallowing my fear, I crept toward the staircase and peered over the banister.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

Movement caught my eye.

Bump. Muffle. Thump.

The sound was coming from . . . I squinted in the darkness . . .

Bump. Muffle. Thump.

. . . the robotic sweeper vacuum I’d received for Christmas, a device we’d programmed to clean while we slept. An array of blue LEDs appeared in the darkness as the white disk-shaped robot attempted to maneuver its way out from under our dining room table. Bump. Hitting one of the chair legs, it rotated a fraction of an inch and tried again.

Bump. Whirl.

The robot turned once more, disappearing once again under the table only to return a moment later for another attempt at escape.

Adrenaline fled my system, as my body reminded me exactly how early it was. Now that I understood where the sound was coming from, there was no more reason to fear. Instead, it became no more than white noise and something I could ignore. I returned to bed as the robot continued its chore.

It seems that we are being bombarded by new things to fear. Things to lose sleep over. I am reminded often of the words of Franklin Roosevelt who said during his first inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

But there is even more to the speech than this one memorable quote. He went on to call this fear of fear a “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

He called upon the American people to recognize that it was fear, above all, that was the nation’s enemy and introduced the policy of the good neighbor – “the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others.”

History has a way of repeating itself and I find the words of this particular speech as true now as they were during the time they were first spoken. It is only the size of the stage that has changed.

We are in danger of losing our ability to respect the views of others – those that live differently, speak differently, pray differently or in cases, vote differently and in doing so jeopardize respect for ourselves. We are in danger of losing the battle with fear. And so I implore you, no matter where you call home, or side of an issue’s spectrum you take, to never lay awake in fear at the sound of a bump in the night. Instead, get out of your comfort zone. Investigate its source so that you might better understand it from all angles.

That bump in the night may prove to be something terrible, to be fought, but it might just as easily be something or someone trying to help you as best they can. You’ll only know for sure how best to react if you first break the paralysis of fear, step forward and risk a look.

Things that gave me courage to come out as a writer – Featuring Kristin Garrett

As my launch day inched closer, several people commented, “you must be so excited,” which I was, but I was also terrified. It is one thing to spend the last several months (or years) toiling away on a novel in one’s spare time, but it is quite another to actually let other people read it, and strangers at that. Releasing a second novel isn’t any easier than the first. If anything it can be even more nerve inducing. What if the first was a fluke? People now have expectations. What if I can’t meet them?

The easy way to get around this fear is to simply hide behind a pen name and never tell anyone you actually published a novel. This will also ensure you receive minimal bad reviews, mostly because your novel isn’t read. The better way, though, is to take advantage of the writing community.  I have been blogging for two years now (I know – where does the time go?), and have met some of the most spectacularly supportive fellow writers. They have played and integral part in promoting my work, and I am thrilled to now be in a position to return the favor.

One of those writers is Kristin Elise Garrett, whose novel, She Hopped Over the Wall, also launched this week. When I first ‘met’ Kristin, I did what every sensible person would do, I reviewed her About Me page, and was struck by her words, “I think it is a brave thing for one to put themselves out there with their thoughts, feelings, imagination, and everything else that comes along with good writing.  It can be an emotional, financial, and professional risk.” Brave indeed. Knowing how difficult it had been for me, I just had to ask what gave her the courage to take that risk.

Coming Out...as a writer.

Things that gave me courage to come out as a writer – by Kristin Garrett

  • I stopped caring what everybody thought. If you want to be good at anything you have to ignore unconstructive criticism. There will always be a fly buzzing in your ear telling you that you’re not good enough. Most of those people are just jealous or they would be reading a writer who is good enough (which is you). Sometimes these people will even be your friends, family, coworkers, whatever. Personally I don’t give bad reviews. If something sucks I quit reading and move on. I don’t have time to be moaning about everyone else’s writing because I’m too busy writing my own work.
  • I learned you cannot please everyone so just please yourself. Who cares if no one reads you? I found some lovely bloggers whose books I enjoyed more than some best-selling novels. Not everyone is going to like what you write. When you start writing for other people, writing for fame, or writing for stats, that’s when you become miserable. Nothing will ever be enough.
  • I can do whatever I want. My blog has no theme. One day it’s dramatic fiction, another day it’s satirical humor, what I ate last weekend, it’s mine and I can do whatever I want.
  • There has to be more to life than paying bills and dying. I don’t know where that phrase came from but I saw it on Pinterest and it’s true. I like my day job and I like my life but the only thing that really invigorates me is writing. It doesn’t mean I need to quit the rest of my life to “become a full-time writer.” I just wrote a novel in two months and I work 50+ hours a week. I can do both. If it ever comes to someone paying me then I’m not going to say no…
  • It could be my calling. It would be bold of me to say it is my calling. But I don’t know until I try. I could be missing out on the best that life has to offer if I don’t put finger to keyboard. I seldom know what I’m writing in advance. It’s like real life; you make plans, you walk outside, your favorite restaurant is closed, you go to another, you plan on the park but it rains, etc. When I write, my characters do something unexpected and then I change course. Those rascals.
  • I stopped thinking of it as a job. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I have a day job that I get paid for. No one is going to fire me because of a faulty plot.
  • Nobody is going to die if your writing is terrible. Unless it’s a character that has reached an unfortunate turn for the worst.

Follow Kristin’s adventure at https://pursuitofanewadventure.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter @kristins_blog