"if you write everyday..."

...you get better at writing everyday."

At least, this is what I tell my students. But I have not been the best about "practicing what I preach."

Brent said that he would make supper tonight so I could work out. I'm not feeling motivated to work out, so I asked if it was okay if I blog while he cooks. But then I realized that it is difficult for me to simply sit and write; to pull thoughts out of thin air and form them into something worth reading. Why is that? When did the muses stop whispering to me?

In college I took several writing classes and my professors would simply say, "A bike ride..." And I was off. I could write for an hour.

So today I wanted to challenge the writer within me again. I wanted to give you a bird's eye view of the process of my writing. So I randomly picked this prompt: "Why do things have to change? Write about a place in danger of losing its wonderment." And here we go.

When I was little, my wet, chocolaty spiral curls would plaster my olive skin as I splashed to my heart's content. My sister's white, blond curls would do the same as she would pass me a tub block.

It was here, in the little green tiled bathroom, that my sense of wonder could grow. At one moment I was a mermaid wooing the men at sea, another I was an annoying younger sister splashing soap in my sister's eyes, and then in a flash I was a dolphin, surfacing for air.

Kali and I would create games in this space. Some of our favorites included "create-a-funky-hairdo-while-the-shampoo-is-in," and "pop-the-tub-blocks-outside-of-the-tub-by-making-them-wet-and-slick-and-try-to-get-them-to-stick-on-the-mirror/stool/wall." Another was "with-a-pruned-finger-spell-a-word-on-my-back-and-then-let-me-guess."

As I entered the awkward adolescent, and more self-centered time in my life I HATED taking showers, much to my family's disappointment. So I would enter the wonder-world of the bathroom and, while putting off the inevitable shower that would have to occur before I left, I would stand in front of the mirror and "sell" items that were on the sink. "Want whiter teeth and a fresher smile? Try Colgate Ultra... the toothpaste with a kick!" Or something like, "Skin as smooth as a baby's bottom? Is that just an old wive's tale to you? Try Jergen's Ever Soft and say goodbye to those rough patches that remind you of your true age." Of course I would always be snapped out of my fictional world as a TV saleswoman as my mom would pound on the door, "You done in there?!" I'd quickly jump in the shower and shout, "Just about!!!"

As we all do, I got older and busier, and my bathroom games faded away. Green tiles were replaced with paint, and instead of playing games in the mirror I began to scrutinize my reflection. I would put my hair this way, or that, praying that one day I would wake up and it would be straight. I would practice various smiles on my teeth that had recently been released from braces.

Now, as an adult, I want the wonder back. I want to steam up the mirror and write my name in the fog. I want to bring my Barbies in the tub with me and make funky hairdos when I am shampooing. But instead I shower, I brush my teeth, and zip up my business skirt and button my shirt matter-of-factly. But some days, oh some days, I take the time sit on the rug, lean against the cool tub behind me. I close my eyes and can almost feel my fingers and toes prune. I can almost hear the splashing and laughter. And when I open my eyes again I look into the mirror, flip my hair back and say, "Things don't have to change. Just ask our studio audience..."

And with a smile and lighter heart, I leave a place of wonderment.


Sharon said...

I'm sorry about your mean mother pounding on the door and ruining everything. So sad....

PS Love this post~

Lauri said...

This makes me wonder what my kids are actually doing for long periods in the bathroom...

Aunt Linda said...

I remember that bathroom. And another bathroom where we'd play "gimme a paw..." Wasn't all that long ago.