Thursday, September 9, 2010

Writing with the Toilet Seat Down

Virginia Wolff had it right; a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.

Well, the money part might be a long time coming for me…but the room part? Well, read on…

I spent too long moaning, groaning, whining and crying about not having any where to write. Um…hello!? There is a whole world out there in which to write. Not EVERY human being can fill EVERY little nook and cranny. There is ALWAYS somewhere to write: on the bus, on the couch at 5 am, on a park bench, and in the bathroom.
The bathroom? Yes, it’s possible.

I will explain in a minute. So, for now, just cross your legs and read.

During a brief break from all the moaning, groaning, whining and crying, I finished blowing my nose with Kleenex-by-the-foot (toilet paper), and reflected on the past year. Armed with a set of goals set at the beginning of the year, I had ALWAYS found a place, and time, to write. Maybe not as often as I would have liked, and maybe not in a fancy oak desk with a leather swivel chair with my tea brought to me hourly by a Chippendale’s dancer....but I always managed to write.

And I guess I paid my dues because, so far as it seems, and although I am still in the early organizing/planning stages, my time has come.

I will have my own office.

Where I KNOW great things will happen.

Before you flush this down the toilet at my self-indulgent smugness, read on.

I live with three men; a husband and two sons. I am the minority. Space has always been an issue, what with everyone growing. Finding time to write, finding space for myself, has always been a challenge. But somehow, I have managed. Between refereeing at home, going to various extra-curricular activities, homework, meals, laundry, laundry, laundry, never mind forever cleaning the bathroom…..

And so very often, the bathroom is often my refuge. As long as I have super smelly soap that NO ONE is allowed to use, I am happy. As long as the bathtub is rinsed of sand, grass, and pine needles after their bath, I am happy. As long as the toilet seat is down, I am happy.

But what makes me most happy is finally having my own bathroom. Just a little powder room, but I don’t care. It’s mine.

We moved, and not only did I acquire a kitchen window, but an extra bathroom.

And I had a flash of brilliance, as I so often do, of TRULY making it mine.

Why not make it my office?

And of course I have told anyone and everyone about this; the bus driver, the girls at the grocery store, and everyone else in between.

A writer friend of mine had the brilliant concept of converting a commode to a chair, able to fit over the toilet. Another friend of mine came up with having a drop down table suspended by chains, from the wall.

THIS is going to be perfect.

I have yet to get to it; boxes are still being unpacked, furniture still being re-arranged. I still get confused as to where I am now keeping the Hello Kitty Waffle Maker. It will come together eventually. I have already stored ‘writerly’ things under the sink, awaiting the bathroom transformation - but it will come.

I am patient.

I’ve waited this long.

And get this: all through the move, through the packing/unpacking, chaos, and too many nights of ordering pizza (which really isn’t a bad thing), I continued to write.

Even, still, without the ‘office.’

Stay tuned….and while you’re at it, go change the empty toilet paper roll.


  1. Best of luck with your new "office," Lisa. I remember at my very first RWA national conference in 2001, hearing Patricia Gaffney give a luncheon talk. One of her favourite spots for writing was the bathtub - and her hubby rigged up a whole "desk" for her, that fit over the sides of the tub. Where there's a will there's a way, and we can find inspiration in the most unusual places. Also, congrats for keeping writing despite all that's been happening - and on having your article published in the Romance Writers Report!

  2. Thank you, Susan, for your kind words. I loved hearing the story of Patricia Gaffney writing in the if my little bathroom only had a tub....OH the possibilities!
    And yes, I am very (to say the least)excited about my article in the Romance Writers Report! Thank you for that!

  3. Hi Lisa,
    As I most humbly sit here in my air-conditioned (swivel fan) office (spare room) with a huge window next to me(covered by overgrown bushes)I swear I feel real glee for you and your planned up-coming space. Since, I myself have been forced to write in such places as the back-seat of a car, many times while travelling by greyhound, and late at night propped up in bed, I truly do understand your dilema and am sincerely happy for your brilliant resourceful idea.
    See you soon...

  4. And don't forget Stephen King wrote in the laundry room with a tiny desk over his knees. Doesn't matter where as long as you make it your space. Love the commode and bath desk ideas!

  5. Now that you've got a seat, four walls – and a door, I hope? – perhaps for your next birthday, the gift fairy will supply a lap desk.
    It's the best present my gift fairy ever gave me!

  6. Good to see you writing - anywhere. You always make me laugh!

  7. The idea about the lap desk sounds interesting, to say the least! Thank you to Mimi, Ros, Rachel and Janelle for writing! Glad I could give a laugh and foster some memories. I'll keep you updated on 'progress in the bathroom!'