Quieting the Dog - Writing in the Tub and Other Tips and Tricks
By Nadine JL 18th December 2017
I am sitting in my nest of blankets and pillows, in the bathtub. This is where I write, the mornings that T is home. On the mornings he is not home, I write sitting up in bed.
When I wake, I press down the switch under the handle of the electric kettle beside me, to boil water for the coffee press. Sometimes I do a sun-salutation yoga sequence on the mat, while I wait for the water to boil. Other times, I just reach over and put on the sweater I’ve laid ready the night before. I wrap a blanket around my shoulders, and stare into the darkness, feeling the chill of the air in the unheated stone attic room, mentally sifting the thoughts I will soon be purging onto the page. Or sometimes, during those minutes while I wait for the kettle to boil, I try not to think any thoughts at all. Instead, I focus on my breath, and try to tap into the Life Presence.
Sometimes I rub my hands together to warm them before I begin to type. Or sometimes, a hot flash washes over me. Then I am truly grateful; I love the heat. The flash begins like a flower of warmth blossoming in my chest, quickly radiating outward through the rest of my body. Within seconds, I go from shivering to feeling tiny beads of sweat forming on my forehead. It’s an exquisite experience. I am grateful for my menopause. I’ve had four amazing kids. My body knows it’s time. I loved birthing and breastfeeding, but now that kind of work is complete.
The only reason I manage to show up here each morning is because of the preparation I do the night before. That, and because of the commitment I renew: The first thing I will do, when I touch technology each day, is create, not consume. So although the Pavlovian dog at my metaphysical feet is salivating, trying to get me to check email, or Instagram, the Prose app, LinkedIn or perhaps even Facebook, to see if any little red notifications are waiting; each morning I instead quiet that dog, forcing myself to write, first.
For most of the year, it is still dark when I get up to write. I write early in the morning, before the kids awaken. When the water in the kettle has boiled, I pour it into the stainless steel coffee press, which I’ve also prepared the night before, with enough coffee grounds for two steaming cups.
I love the thick sound the water makes, as it pours onto the grounds; and the dark aroma that immediately rises from it. I love watching the rich, earthy liquid slowly rise to the middle of the press, as I pour. It gets that dog salivating to write, because the dog associates writing with that smell, and sound, and sight. The press is a beautiful one that I splurged on years ago; a bit more pricey than most; but it has made me happy each morning. It has a graceful, clean, shining shape, and a solid, unbreakable feel to it — as I hope my writing will one day become.
In the dark of the room where I write, I usually use a flashlight to pour the water to the right level in the press. After that, the only light in the room comes from my laptop screen, which I’ve turned down low.
I like to write in the dark. For me, writing is like labouring before giving birth — best done mostly alone, with ensured privacy and dim lighting.
When I log into my computer, a blank page in Scrivener awaits me. Before Scrivener, I used ViJournal, but that old friend of mine is no longer supported. Sometimes I send a wish into the universe, asking that the MIA developers of ViJournal someday return. I loved ViJournal so, and would like to thank its makers. How many thousands of words I typed into those digital pages; how many answers we found inside, I and my Vi.
What I write does not matter, at the outset — I write to find out what I want to say. I believe I first heard this expression said by Robin Rice, on an older episode of Glenn Leibowitz’s Write With Impact podcast. When I heard it, it clicked for me immediately, because that’s exactly what I’d been doing these past 2-3 years — writing to find out what I wanted to say. Somehow I managed to write about a million words doing that.
And that’s exactly how this post was created.
First published on [Prose](https://theprose.com/post/196166/quiet-the-dog-writing-in-the-bath) #prose #challenge #minddoodle Inspired by stream-of-thought mind-doodle challenge