The Poetry of Sleep (deprivation)

Ideas and Babies
By Yael Daphna Saar

Before

Ideas
like babies
wake me up
demanding my attention in the middle of the night

I am not complaining
I sleep with a notebook under my pillow
to catch my drips

The dark circles
under my eyes
are a small price for the twinkle they sparkle

After

Babies
wake me up in the middle of the night
and many more times before dawn

Who’s complaining?
I wake up to find a child sharing my pillow
I drip milk and tears and sweat

I can’t find my notebook
I type with one hand
I have never been this tired or so much in love

 

* * *

(This is an older post, revisited because of the crazy sleep deprived week we’ve been going through. I no longer sleep with the baby, he is no longer nursing, nor a baby, for that matter. Time continues to fly, but some things stay the same).

* * *

I’ve been writing poetry for as long as I can remember.
Like most poets, I’ve always wanted to publish my work. Like every poet, pursuing that was scary. Fear of rejection, fear of success, you name it, it scared me. Last year, Hip Mama Magazine dedicated a whole issue to Creativity. And I had a poem in my drawer that was perfect for this, and it begged to see the light (it had such a cute little voice too, I just couldn’t refuse). I’m talking about the first of the two poems bellow. It was about creativity before I had kids. I decided to write an “after” poem. That one sort of wrote itself when I invited it to show up. I decided this was the right time to bite the bullet and give the editors a chance to say yes. I held my breath and counted to three. Then to twenty. Clicked send.

It got published. I danced the happy dance. When it was available in stores, I bought every copy I could lay my hands on and gave it to my mother, my grandma, some friends. I still have a few copies I’m saving. I did buy a tad too many, but heck. It was a nice rush to see my name in print. The rush was gone after a couple of weeks, but I am still proud of having a poem that was published in a small alternative magazine.

And I love that I overcame one of my fears. It’s not that the fear is gone, it’s still here alright, but I now have proof that I can hold my own against it. I have since sent a few other pieces to several mothering magazines, but non have been selected for publication just yet. And that stings a lot less than I imagined. (This rings another bell: the whole issue of wanting things to be chosen by others. outside validation vs. inner validation. I’ve been trying for a long time to shift my source of validation from the outside in. This will have to be fodder for another post.)

So a couple of days ago, a friend asked me if  I put any of my creative writing on this blog. My first reaction was no, I should keep those domains separate. And then I questioned this reaction. I realized that since so much of my creative writing explores emotions related to mothering, non of the reasons to keep things separate trumped the sharing of these words with you.

There was one reason that at first seemed valid:
The goal of this site is to help you, not display my own talents.
So again I questioned, and found some interesting things:

a: I do want to share my talents with you. Call me vain, because I am. It’s one of my many flaws. No point in trying to pretend anything.
b: I don’t have to chose between the two. I can help you AND share my talents.
c: I can make sure that sharing my talents becomes helpful. For example: I can discuss the very conflicts we are discussing right now. See? How is that working for you? I’d love to know what you think about this debate I had with my inner critic. Is this helpful at all? I’d really appreciate your comments bellow.
d. Any opportunity do discuss fear and creativity are useful in overcoming depression. So there!

 

7 Responses to The Poetry of Sleep (deprivation)
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  3. Lindsay
    October 4, 2011 | 12:17 pm

    Love this. Thank you. I feel like you went into my brain, learned about me, and wrote it down!

    • Yael
      October 12, 2011 | 2:45 pm

      I’m so happy this touched you in just the right spot. hugs. Many.

  4. orna
    April 30, 2011 | 9:26 am

    the only way to know is to publish once and see the reactions.
    try to have the piece for publication , that one that might deal with general emotions and problems that are common to many.
    waiting to read.

  5. Susan
    November 1, 2010 | 10:02 pm

    One plus one equals greater than two, in this case. The poems need each other to evoke a greater meaning and depth…so well done

  6. jayalalita
    October 25, 2010 | 10:21 pm

    Yael, these poems are so beautiful. Twins! I love the parallels. The second brought tears to my eyes. It’s so profound the way we give ourselves to mother love, and feel how it feeds us to feed others, and let ourselves cry when we need to.

    About the debate: I can’t find any conflict or even separation between helping others and showcasing your talents. Zero.

    You’re amazing.
    love, Jaya

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