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A heavy blanket of fatigue wrapped around me as I read into the evening. We’d spent the afternoon running errands, so my weariness did not surprise. But then came the head and body aches. 

At 8 o’clock, Keith asked, “Do you want to watch a movie or something before bedtime?” 

“No, I think I’ll just go to bed,” I said.

One of our errands that afternoon had been to the pharmacy to get vaccinated for flu and shingles. The nurse who administered the shots told us the usual reactions: soreness and “meh” feeling for a day or so. People over sixty-five like us get stronger doses, she said.

Since 911-worthy allergic reactions tend to be similar—swelling of face and throat, difficulty breathing, fast heartbeat, dizziness—I didn’t bother reading the information sheets until the following morning. Then, in addition to fatigue, muscle pain, and headache, I ticked off shivering, fever, and stomach upset that had troubled me overnight. 

This will pass, I thought, as I climbed back into bed. In the meantime, what are my choices? Wallow in self-pity or get on with the day. I got out of bed, let the dogs outside, turned on the coffee, and did one little thing then the next then the next. By evening, other than residual soreness in my arm, I was fine.


We’ve all been there. Poet Luanne Castle noted similar reactions to her flu shot, while informing her readers of her most recent publication: https://writersite.org/2020/09/03/poem-up-at-humana-obscura/ Because she wasn’t feeling well, she closed the post to comments. Understandable, though I wanted tell her how lovely the poem was and wish her a speedy recovery—I’m sure others did, too.

These days, posting anything open to comment comes with risk. Posts might inadvertently stir up virulent comments, even though the writer has stated mere common sense, or incite pile-on likes, retweets, and sharing with more venom.

But not all negative comments are virulent, and not all reactions are negative.


For two months, I pitched ideas to a faith publication. It’s been a Three-Bears experience, if the bear family had four members. My first pitch was too big, the editor said; the second pitch not quite right; the third pitch too small; my fourth submission just right: “…beautifully written, very poignant and insightful.” Then a request for more. I basked in that encouragement for a moment… well, maybe a little longer. 

Without the editor’s comments—her feedback—I would have continued along my merry way, producing work that wasn’t a good fit for the publication. So, like the vaccinations, risking negative reaction was worth the two days or two months of “meh.” Every day, I got out of bed, let the dogs outside, turned on the coffee, and wrote one thing then the next then the next. 

And the work found a home.

Speaking of home, today dawned cool and clear—as you can see. So, I plan to do one thing then the next then the next—outside. A Happy Labor Day!