February 03, 2021Voices in the Shower

Do you hear them, too?

I think it's because you're in there all alone. They know you're cornered. All wet and soapy. Where are you going to go?

Sometimes it's God. We have great conversations in there ... a little praise and a little singing ... sorting out life's issues ... having some AHA! moments ...

But most times it's just my own crazy brain chattering away.

Yeah, the same brain that goes dead silent when I really need it. Like when I'm trying to conjure up small talk on the fly. Or when I need to figure out what's for dinner ... NOW. Or how about when I just really need a good, catchy caption for a Facebook post ... would it be so much to ask? All I get is silence.

But step behind that shower curtain and get all wet and soaped up and it's like flipping a switch!

And I'm not complaining ... oh, no! I may be a bore at dinner parties, and I may not know what we're eating tonight, but, by golly, I might pop out of the shower with ideas for articles and blogs and graphics for the next six months! Or maybe I'll find a solution to some difficult illustration in a current book project ... I live a strange life. Entertaining, for sure. But strange.

And I've learned that this little phenomenon isn't something I can manipulate. I can't hop into the shower thinking, Okay, tonight I need to know this or that answer or solution ... and then come out all informed. Nope. Doesn't work like that.

Mostly it's a random, out-of-the-blue thing. And if I get into the shower expecting it, it won't come at all.

I did read an interesting article online once about this very thing ... about how you tend to get flashes of brilliance and inspiration in a hot, steamy shower. It's all based on physics ... something about all that hot water stirring up the oxygen and ionizing the molecules that you breathe in and they get into your bloodstream and go straight to all those brain cells and cause synaptic things to happen ... and I didn't really understand it and I have not the slightest clue what I'm talking about. All I know is that I thought I might be a little crazy, but it turns out that there is actual science that proves I'm A-OK!

So any concerns I had about getting sent away to the funny farm have given way to curiosity and amusement, and I really enjoy showering now!

All this shower chatter comes in waves. I may not get much of it for a while, but then, boom! Suddenly it's back full force! And it can hang around for days or even weeks.

The last big wave came late last summer when I was preparing and writing blogs and articles for October and November. The ionized-moleculed-synapted-brain cells kicked in and said, Write about the Okefenokee! And I did! And had so much fun recalling all the adventures we had. The very best thing about having a website about story telling is that no story or subject is off limits! Anything goes ... even tales about swamps and gators and adventures in kayaks.

But I needed an article, too ... hmmm ...

From the very beginning I've wanted to do an article about the entire process of putting a book together, start to finish. I've got blogs and articles about writing and drawing, pulling story ideas from real life, about the different printing processes ... but no one article or series about the entire process of a single book, beginning with a good story, laying out and designing pages with type and pictures, showing what the illustrator does, and designing a cover, all the way to preparing the art for the printer.

Forgetting even the actual writing of the story, it can take months and months to produce a book. And drawing demos for a whole book? How's that going to work in a single article? Even a series of articles ... a 24-32 page picture book? It's just too much!

Then, in the process of writing the Okefenokee blogs, the solution appeared in the October 14th blog in the Ranger Pete stories ... the tall tale about Gator Joe! It was perfect!

A real-life simple legend, easily turned into a short narrative. We'll turn it into a tiny book ... 8 pages ... a single signature for offset printing. Two signatures for standard digital printing. Long enough to feel like a real book. Short enough to accommodate a series of articles covering writing the story, laying out the pages with type, designing illustrations to match the narrative ... it was perfect!! And thus began the Planning Your Book series.

Shower conversations were in full swing during the beginning of all this and I was having so much fun! Part 1 got published on the site, and we were off and running!

Then fall melted into the holidays. Okefenokee blogs gave way to other blogs reflecting on the end of a crazy year and anticipating another on it's heels. Life settled back to normal. Even I, it seems, can't ride those waves of energy and inspiration indefinitely.

But that's okay. A person could get burned out quick staying all hyped up like that! Life continued on with a regular, steady routine. Part 2 and Part 3 got written and published. Right on schedule! So far so good! This is going to be a terrific series!

Soon I was hot and heavy into Part 4, getting it ready to go online in February ... and another round of shower conversations began ...

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  • Dixie Cooley says:
    2021-02-04, 14:52:21
    You know that's awesome and I like to think that's the Holy Spirit talking to you.
    Sometimes it is!- Sherry A Mitcham