Agatha Christie is supposed to have said that doing the dishes is a good time for planning a book. Even the actor Liam Neeson, in an interview for Vanity Fair, quite a few years back, admitted to finding washing up therapeutic. I have to admit to being in agreement with both of them, I suppose you could call it foam therapy.
I have never liked dishwashers (the machines). There is something very calming about rolling up your sleeves and plunging your hands into warm, soapy water. When we lived in Spain, my husband bought me a dishwasher and I rarely used it. I don’t think he was thinking of my poor old hands at the time – it was more a case of filling a gap between the under-counter units that had been plumbed for such a ‘labour saving’ device. The day that dishwashers fill and empty by themselves and can scrub pots clean, is when they will truly be labour saving in my eyes.
So the dishwasher was only used on weekends, when my husband was off work, just to show my appreciation. It wasn’t long before I noticed that I was having trouble making up the Saturday shopping list, so I bought some Omega fish oil to help boost the old grey matter. It was while I was sitting in front of a blank page one weekend, tapping a pen against my temple, trying to plan my next attack on the local supermarket (I hate shopping) that I realized what my problem was.
The sound of dishes being washed and rinsed while I was trying to do another task was totally unnatural to me. I came to the conclusion that I did my best thinking while dishwashing. Normally, by the time I had finished the breakfast dishes, I would have the shopping list for that day composed in my head, ready to be jotted down.
We moved back to Ireland minus the dishwasher and for the past seven years I’ve had no trouble organizing the weekend shopping list. In fact, I wrote my first book on our return and a lot of it was ‘dreamed up’ at the kitchen sink. This task continues to provide periods of inspiration during the day, so much so, that I keep a small notebook and pen at hand in the kitchen, to jot ideas into.
What about you? Is there some task or activity that inspires your writing or creativity? Or one you find relaxing and therapeutic?