Monday, February 20, 2006

Can't Give Up The Clean

First off, I'm still working on Switchcraft even as In Between Men is now officially in a bookstore near you.

Second, I've little sleep and less contact with the outside world.

Third, this isn't a diss of any writers who become so invested in the work that they forget to shower or change their clothes. It's just an admission that I can't give up showering no matter how deep I am into the writing. Yes, I walk around my house like a ghost but only when it's my husband's turn to watch the Little Dude. Even then, I'm still listening for that particular tone in the baby's cry that only a mommy can hear.

But that's a whole other topic.

So back to personal hygeiene: does my need for cleanliness make me less of a writer? Am I not as committed to the work? Am I ... Bourgeois?

I tried to write in my jammies the other day - mom, I did brush my teeth - but I couldn't concentrate because of that not-so-fresh feeling under my armpits.

Also, showering and cooking are my meditation. Before I go in, I carefully select a body wash from my fiercely guarded collection. Do I need White Tea, Soothing Lavendar, Revitalizing Mint, Seductive Rose or plain oatmeal soap? And then there's the question of exfoliation, which I use when I literally and figuratively need to rid myself of dead skin. Moisturization is a must and I always use SPF 30 on the face.

When I'm under the water lathering up, my mind plays with different approaches to a scene, hence my handy mini-recorder is always on the counter just in case my character delivers a line of dialogue that could be forgotten on the rocky path between the shower and my desk. Or, I practice what I'll say to Oprah or Tyra on the off chance I'm invited to their shows.

Now I don't feel so guilty. But I better get back to work.

I hope you have a great time with Isa and Alex. Funny thing about being an author is that at the time I was writing In Between Men , I hated them for making my life miserable with their damn problems. Now, I miss them and hate the characters who are making my life hell right now.



Bethany Hiitola said...

I think I wrote my entire first novel in the *off times.* Like when I was sitting in the doctor's office for my son's millionth pediatrician's appointment. Or while driving. Showering. Washing the dishes. I think it is the act of the mundane that sparks the creativity. :-)

Can't wait to read In Between Men

Erica Orloff said...

Hey Mary:
Nice to see you come up for air!

I am ashamed to admit I am in the non-shower writing category. Non-shower, non-dressing, non-eating except for Coke, coffee, and strange items scrounged from leftover take-out boxes.

And lately, the ONLY writing I am doing is in the three-hour nap window of the baby.

Oh, and yesterday, my older son DID get his much-begged-for baby python, so now I can add cleaning snake poop to my duties. And yes, I have discovered snakes poop. So diaper duty, snake duty . . . who knew? Though I don't mind, as Lydia is a rather cool pthyon. Wait, little dude will ask for some equally creepy thing when he is 10. As I have four kids, someone always wants something that I find questionable.


Unknown said...

Hi Bethany!

Exactly. I think when we don't force our brains to work, we're free to go into those places.

I hope you like IBM!


Unknown said...

Hi Erica:

You got the snake?!? My brother in law had one but it got so big - he was feeding it live rabbits - that he had to find it a new home. At least it won't wake up the baby!


Dana Diamond said...

Mary, I didn't realize IBM is out already! I'm so excited. I'm going out to get it right now. Field Trip! coming clean about showering. Well, I don't *need* one to write, but I prefer one in general. ;)

My best plotting and dialogue happens when I'm rocking out in traffic.

Also, Erica, I'm loving your book, Do They Wear High Heels In Heaven. And my *husband* loved it. That's saying a lot.

:) dana

Erica Orloff said...

Hi Dana:
THANKS! I am glad you are enjoying it (and I'm awed your hubby is . . . he must be a very special guy . . . there's stuff in there I think some guys would get queasy over).

Yes, Mary, we got the snake, but supposedly it can only grow to four feet long and caps out at rats. The entire concept of feeding it makes me queasy, but that is my hubby's department. I had no brothers growing up . . . so mothering a boy definitely is teaching me some things.