Foam Therapy

writing, authors,

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?


About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
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11 Responses to Foam Therapy

  1. La Imperial Feng says:

    … same for me – never had a dishwasher and probably never will have one – even though, as a kid I always dreamed to get one while I had to do the dishes 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • When our five children were younger we used to say we had ‘five dishwashers’ but it was mostly me that washed – they dried. When we worked like that together, we had some of our best conversations.


  2. Dave Astor says:

    Great post, Jean! It’s very true that doing a non-writing task (such as washing dishes by hand) can get the writing gears going. For me, it’s taking long walks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s my second best way to get creative. I love long walks, I just have to be careful that I don’t speak out loud any conversation my characters might be having in my head – especially if I’m walking on my own. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do have a dishwasher, and I do love using it, but most of my ideas come to me when I am ironing. There’s not much else I can do while ironing other than think and hope that the ideas will come to me. They almost usually do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmm, I suppose one man’s pleasure is another man’s torture. I hate ironing with a passion. So much so, that before I buy an item of clothing, I scrunch up the fabric in my hand to see how much it creases. You don’t happen to live in Cork, do you? I could provide you with enough ironing to write the equivalent of ‘War and Peace’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid I have to iron, especially all my and my partners shirts. Other than that, only bedding gets ironed, but I don’t mind because of the ideas that come my way.

      No, not in or near Cork. My ironing is enough to keep me going, otherwise I’d have no time at the computer writing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jean, strange as it may seem when I get stuck on something I’m writing, I often find that the solution will manifest while in the shower. (I hear the laughter already!) But it’s true. The same holds true when I’m weeding my garden or taking along walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I swear, I’m not laughing at the shower scene, Jack, really I’m not. Actually, since we’re baring our souls here (pardon the pun) I do most of my crying in the shower. I will have to try taking my ablutions with the muse and see what happens.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gardening, and washing the dishes. We took forever to get a dishwasher, because I love the feel of warm soapy water on my hands as I wash the dishes. But pots? I don’t love washing pots.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s true for me, too, Cynthia, I’m not a lover of pot-washing either. Or burnt food on Pyrex dishes!


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