Today I’ve chosen to share something personal.
I have an all-consuming, panic-inducing, terrifying fear of moths. I can’t explain it. They don’t sting or bite. I know that. But they are so ugly (in my opinion). And the way they flap wildly around the light above my desk, against the wall, off the floor. Go Back! Well let’s just say I am literally cringing as I type.
I have three children, a husband and a dog. I have worked full time from my home office for over fifteen years, long before I became a published author. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished to have the house all to myself. So I can work at my computer, uninterrupted, for as long as I want.
Then, finally, after years of waiting, I had my chance. My older daughter away at college, my younger daughter away at sleep away camp, and my husband and son journeying to California. I had an entire weekend to myself, to do whatever I chose, for the first time in my married life. I learned a very valuable lesson that weekend…I don’t like to be alone in my house when it’s dark. Partly because of what happened late Saturday night.
I’d just come in from walking the dog. It must have come in with me. Like the soon-to-be-victim in a grade B horror flick, I went about the business of wiping off my dog’s paws and giving him a treat, completely unaware of the horrific encounter that awaited me. I was on the cell phone with my daughter at the time. (She accompanied me to walk the dog. Refer back to big baby home alone at night.)
I was on my way down the darkened hallway when I saw its fluttering shadow. It was angry, crazed, flapping furiously to find its way to the light.
Above my desk.
Of course I screamed like someone was coming at me with an ax. I vaguely registered my daughter yelling she was going to dial 911 if I didn’t tell her what was going on.
“There’s a moth,” I cried out, my voice quivering. It was no joke. I was petrified. “And Daddy’s not here to kill it.”
She laughed. Well she’s not terrified of moths. (On her next visit home I plan to arrange a little spider-in-her bed get-together as payback for the fun she made of me on that terrible night.)
Clutching the phone, my heart beating wildly, I peered around the corner to my office and saw…..
Okay. I’m exaggerating. But this thing had a mutant gene somewhere. And vertebrae. I’m sure of it. He came at me. I ran.
“Kill it with a fly swatter,” my daughter suggested.
“That’d be like trying to squish a tarantula with a tissue,” I replied.
She laughed. (I thought spider in her bed and let it slide.)
I crept back down the hall to my office. I had work to do. I was under deadline. And even if I wasn’t, no way I’d get to sleep knowing that beast was on the loose on the floor below, capable of dive-bombing me or tangling in my hair if I fell into a restless slumber. (Still cringing at the thought.)
I had to do something. So I returned to my office. There was no sign of him except for my dog sniffing under my desk.
I thought to myself: I will never, ever, put my legs under there again.
Did I mention deadline? Lots of work to do? Home alone with no interruptions for the first time in years?
It came down to him or me. I chose me.
I kicked the box of folders under my desk. Nothing. Moved my chair. Nothing. Got down on my hands and knees to look. Nothing.
“What am I going to do?” I asked my daughter, close to tears. “Oh. My. God.,” I screamed. “It’s on the floor in the dining room.” It had morphed into a gigantic beetle looking thing.“The dog’s going after it. No, Buddy. Stop.” Because if my dog ate that disgusting – whatever the heck it was – I swear I’d never let him lick me again.
“Grab the phone book,” my daughter’s words speared through my hysteria.
Phone book. Good. Big. Heavy. But I’d need to get close. Too close. “I’m putting down the phone,” I told my daughter. I needed two hands to protect myself. Just in case.
“It’s so big,” I yelled to the phone in the kitchen. “I can’t do it.” I anticipated the crunch – assuming I actually hit it and didn’t piss him off with a botched attempt.”
He was scampering toward a cabinet. If he made it, I’d be worried about him coming after me for weeks on end.
Him or me.
I ran, threw down the phone book, and jumped on top of it. “I got him,” I yelled to the phone in the kitchen. “Now what?” I asked my daughter because visions of stepping off the phone book and Mothra pushing it away like a mere inconvenience, flexing his muscled wings and coming after me had me paralyzed in fear.
My daughter’s laughter echoed through the kitchen. (Spider in the bed. Spider in the bed.) “You can’t stand there all night,” she said.
She had a point.
With the utmost care, I stepped off the phone book. When I didn’t see movement I ran for the paper towels, pulled off about ten sheets, and ran back. With shaky hands I lifted the phone book. “It’s still moving,” I screamed, dropping it back down and jumping – about twenty times – on top of it. With a deep breath I tried again. Do it quick, I told myself. Get it over with. I did. Scooped his massive, squirming body up and squeezed. Hard. I put the remains in the sink and just in case any hint of life remained I ran water over the paper towels and flattened the ball with a cup.
“Flush it down the toilet,” my daughter suggested.
Luckily I’d regained some semblance of sanity at that point and knew enough not to risk my septic. Instead I put the wet, mashed, mummified Mothra in a cheese doodle bag, curled over the edges, and stuffed it to the bottom of the trash.
“Overnight he’s going to drink the water from the paper towel and eat the cheese doodle crumbs and come back to life.” My daughter laughed.
“Nah,” I said. (But I did suffer a moment of trepidation the next morning when I needed to throw away my oatmeal wrapper.)
Anyway, after my ordeal, I was too overwrought to write, and too skeezed at the memory of that vile, hideous creature defiling my office to return there. A full night of writing lost. Because of a moth.
I’m happy to say, I got up extra early the next morning and was able to meet the writing goals I’d set out to achieve during my weekend alone by the time my husband and son came home.
The lesson here – and there is one: As writers, we need to find a way to write. Life, family, responsibilities, and inconveniences (such as moths) get in the way, but we can’t let them derail us from meeting our goals.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out an excerpt from my debut Harlequin Medical Romance, When One Night Isn’t Enough, at: http://wendysmarcus.com/books/. Or visit my website: http://wendysmarcus.com/ to learn more about me and the other books I have coming soon.
If you’re a writer, I hope you’ll set a goal to finish and polish up a first chapter of one of one of your stories for entry in Mills and Boon’s New Voices competition, coming in September. You can find more information here: http://www.romanceisnotdead.com/
So what about you? What keeps you from writing and how do you work around it to meet your daily word count? Or if you’re a reader and would like to discuss medical romance, I’m happy to do that, too. Have you ever read one? Do you watch medical drama on television? One lucky commenter will win a copy of the UK 2 in 1 edition of my debut Harlequin Medical Romance, which includes a complete novel by author Janice Lynn.
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Wendy S. Marcus lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband, two of her three children, and a much loved Bichon Frise named Buddy. A nurse by trade, Wendy has her master’s degree in health care administration. After years of working in the medical profession, Wendy has taken a radical turn to writing hot contemporary romance with strong heroes, feisty heroines, and lots of laughs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and blogging/e-mailing/tweeting with her online friends. To learn more about Wendy visit her website, http://www.wendysmarcus.com/.