Showering for Inspiration

by RS on June 11, 2010

Like all writers I get my ideas from everything. It could be from a book, an article, a photograph, a dream, eavesdropping on a conversation, whatever.  But sometimes the best ideas come from one unusual place–the shower. Okay, it’s not that unusual for writers.

The shower is the place where you can come up with a new concept, iron out a tricky scene, come up with a lede for an article that’s stumping you. It’s great to organize your thoughts, relax, or plan out your writing day.  Once that hot water hits your head, and trickles down to your shoulders and the rest of your body, you lather up and your brain starts to loosen up with the steam and it’s full speed ahead with the ideas.

Sounds good, huh? Well, it was until this past Tuesday when our boiler went pffft. No hot water. Oh no. Well, no big deal. The last time it was an easy fix and it was working within a couple of hours. Not this time. It turns out that we needed a new boiler. And of course, it had to be one that came in a different size so it was a special order. That means we had to wait, and that also means either take a cold shower or heat water for a sponge bath (we don’t have a tub, just a shower stall).

How did that affect my writing? There were moments that I caught myself thinking, “Let me jump in the shower and think this out” only to remember we had no hot water. Now apart from feeling pretty crusty and a bit itchy, even with the warm soapy water swab down, I needed my shower to think, to relax and unwind, to write. Obviously, I had to make do with what was available–and no my gym has no shower facilities and the marina where we used to dock our sailboat never responded to our question about  using their facilities– to keep clean and write.  Overall the writing routine turned out fine, but I’ve reached a point that I need that shower!

This leads me to wonder about the rituals, addictions, habits that we use as prompts to get the words on paper, and thinking of writers in the past who did not have the luxury of hot water 24 hours a day seven times a week. What did they use to push those ideas forward. Oh yeah, whiskey and opium.

In any event, the plumber is here and the boiler is finally installed. That means the ideas should be pouring out me along with the cascading, hot water, very, very soon.

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