Into every artist’s life, a little rain must fall

Sometimes, the more I search for writing inspiration, the more difficult it is to find. Having just returned from a week in a lovely Victorian cottage on the shores of Lake Erie, I would expect to be recharged and re-energized with lots of great ideas floating around my mind. Instead, I struggle to put thoughts to keyboard. I have written two full blog posts, fully intending to share them, but neither one, although interesting, seem to have a clear purpose.

Our lovely Victorian cottage for the week at Lakeside Chautauqua.

Our lovely Victorian cottage for the week at Lakeside Chautauqua.

My vacation was sort of like that, too. It rained off and on most of the time. Just when I began to relax and enjoy the day, storm clouds moved in, and I was running for cover. I ran my normal two miles or so twice during the week, and during one of these outings, a black bird attacked me in the park, its claws digging into my scalp as it “defended” its young in a nearby nest. Our grandmother, who has joined us on this trip every year for the past 20 seasons, is sick and in a rehabilitation center. Despite the large number of people surrounding me (my children, husband and extended family) and the happy setting, I had that feeling that sometimes overtakes me in the midst of a party — I should be enjoying myself, but I’m just not feeling it.

I know, I know — chill and have a drink, right?
I would have, too. But the resort where we stay, Lakeside Chautauqua, is a family friendly place and a “dry” community.

My normal outlet for the blues is to read a good book. But since I have been writing, reading is no longer an escape route. I couldn’t help but critique the writer’s style instead of enjoying the story. Or maybe, I just didn’t have the right book.

I did have one bright spot — I met a soon to be self-published author, who was teaching a class at the art center. Although I didn’t take her course, we did have a nice chat about writing and the difficulties of social media. We agreed to like one another’s Facebook page — check out her Facebook page.

If you have read some of my previous posts, then you’ll know that I often get inspiration from my dreams and use these to fuel the stories I write. The dream I had during this week was so clear and disturbing that I am not sure it will ever end up in a story. I am still puzzling over it, but perhaps you dream aficionados out there can shed some light.

I gave up my child
I delivered a baby and gave it up for adoption. When I remembered that I had the baby, I felt terribly guilty and couldn’t understand why I would have agreed to give it up. I told my husband that we needed to see if we could get the child back from its adoptive parents. He didn’t seem to be as impassioned as I, but agreed to let me have my way.

I first talked to a nurse in the hospital who told me that she had seen many cases like this before, and I should be able to get the baby back. The nurse was right. The baby, a little girl, was brought back to me, swaddled in a blanket and delivered by my brother, who handed her over somewhat cavalierly and told me her name was Caroline — my mother’s name, my daughter’s middle name, and my little niece’s name. I told myself that I would have to change the baby’s name since it was already in use in our family. I picked the infant up and tried to nurse her, but it was difficult, since she had been bottle-fed the week we were away and didn’t know how to nurse. She was just beginning to get the hang of it when I awoke.

This dream disturbed me, evoking that sense of responsibility I have as a mother to my children and leaving me with a sense of guilt that I would abandon my child.

So dream experts, what is my self-conscious trying to tell me? I asked my husband what he thought it means, but he just said, “It means you were sleeping.”

Funny guy.


  1. Barb Hettinger

    Just returned from a great weekend at Lakeside myself. All was going well until the power went out for four hours in 90+ degree weather, but fortunately it was restored in time for the Three Dog Night concert.

    • amandauhl

      No kidding! Was that a good concert? I forgot that you sometimes go there. Curious where you stayed?

  2. Nic

    As usual, great writing, Amanda. The dream sounds like a giving away of ownership of a newly discovered creative part of self, and then reclaiming that part of the self but having difficulty in nurturing and connecting with it. So, the first thought that came to mind was a question- what creation of yours was given away and then reclaimed, but now seems difficult to nurture? Thanks for the post!

  3. amandauhl

    Great insight and question Nic. I’ll have to think about this.

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