Showering, the Gift

I was with some of my writers group. Well, it’s not “my” writers group, but they’ve accepted me, so I can claim them.

It’s a very cool writers group. I was in another writers group in the ’90s, and not to say too much negative about that one, but it was the kind of group that sucked your creative soul until complete desiccation of the imagination was achieved, and your very will to live was nearly drained.

But now this group, headed by my friend Author Jamie Raintree, is not like that. It is supportive and encouraging. They are engaging and positive without being saccharine and Pollyannish. Great outlooks, great points of view, great advice, and I always walk away feeling re-energized.

At our latest meeting, which was just last night, there was a discussion about where creativity comes from. Is there an external creativity, hovering out there for writers to pick at, like giraffes munching from an acacia tree? Sparing you all the conversation swirling around the topic, I voiced the thought, “My best ideas come when I’m in the shower.”

That statement got affirmation. “Showers are magical.” “I think it’s the flow of the water.”

So I was not alone in this expression, and as attested to by a long-time friend, superb lobbyist David Wenhold, who voiced the concept some years back… let me see if I can remember… yes, I think I can… “My best ideas come when I’m in the shower.” (Does that sound familiar?)

So it’s a Shared Experience. Which got me to wondering, because I like to wonder about things that don’t matter: Why? And I have an answer. As if it matters.

A shower is the closest thing that we come to in our personal life to an isolation chamber. It empties the mind and frees the thoughts.

Think about it: In a shower, you are not concerned with how you look in a mirror (if you have a mirrored shower, shut up right now). You’re not concerned with how your clothes look (unless you take showers much differently than I). You can’t work. You can’t mow the lawn. You can’t address your workload. It is just you, isolated from the world, getting warm, getting clean, and yes, with the water flowing over, and attending to yourself in the shower is the singular task at hand.

A disclaimer: Cold showers don’t apply to this. I’ve had them, and it’s no gateway to creativity. You spend most of your time strategizing the least amount of time you can get wet and still get clean, if indeed you can get enough cold water on your skin to rinse the soap away. The same applies to plunging yourself into a mountain river, right after a night of rain. Yow!

Cold showers are a chore. They don’t apply here. I’m talking about your garden-variety warm, soapy shower, although don’t try them in the garden, either.

Anyway. Back to showers. Getting clean. And that’s another thing about showers.

The symbolism of the shower is appealing. In a shower, you wash away the dirt, the detritus, the distractions, and whatever other d-words are involved. You go in as one state, ready for cleansing, and come out clean and refreshed. In its own way, you are experiencing a lower-level rebirth.

So, yes, some of us get our best ideas from the shower. That’s because in everyday life, when facing a problem, trying to come up with a solution, you go through the cycle: Problem! Okay, kick in the front door: Solution! *BAM!* Okay, Solution! *BAM* Okay, Solution! *BAM*

In the shower, in the Cleansing, in the Naked NonDistraction, in the Rebirth, all that fades away. The mind clears. And then in that magic of the subconscious, an alternate, an unseen path, a new creativity emerges from the vacuum of thought you’ve created.

Indeed, showers are magical. My group had it right. And of course, Dave would agree.

— Grandpa

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