Saturday, January 19, 2013

How my bathroom has metaphorically become my writing…or vice versa.

Our bathroom has been in the process of renovation for 3 months. Yes, 3 months of a plywood floor, tottery toilet (because heaven forbid we waste a whopping $7 on a new wax ring so we can secure the toilet to its base), bare-bulb lighting, exposed pipe, and no sink. (You heard me. No sink. We wash our hands in the bathtub and brush our teeth in the kitchen. Fun stuff.) And, even more unfortunate, it is the one and only bathroom in our modest home. So with 5 of us using it—okay, only 4.5 of us because my 3-year-old abjectly refuses to use the potty without first depositing a dollop of poo in her pull-up—the upheaval has become . . . wearing.

My husband will kill me for posting this--
but at least now you can all admire his tiling prowess!

However, the worst part is that, after the bathroom door was initially removed in order to pull up the flooring and re-pipe some of the 80 year old plumbing, it was NEVER PUT BACK ON! (yes, that’s me yelling…though not directly at my husband, even though he's the one that took it down. I love you, my tiling virtuoso!) So the one safe-haven from my rioting children, the ringing phone, the incessant demands on my attention is now fully exposed. The barrier removed. The world-in-flux now fluxes in on my business. I would at times run to The John and close the door even if there was not a need to “conduct business” (yep, potty euphemisms and metaphors are aflying), but there’s no hiding now. My children—yes, all 3—will stand at the door as I’m trying to get out of the shower and cover myself with a towel/bathrobe/strand of TP and there’s nothing to prevent them from spectating except my wail of despair that sends them running in fear and tears my kindly admonitions to “leave mommy in peace.”

So, during a non-solitary stint this morning in this pit of despair, during which I fielded incessant questions (including “If Conner [our cat] threw up, what would it look like?”), I realized this is what it’s like to be a writer. We like our doors closed, our privacy maintained, our self-respect intact. Yet once our writing is released into the world, we are left “door-less.” Nothing stands between ourselves in all our vulnerability and those who might have something to say about it.

I’m currently gearing up to have my first work of fiction published. I have until February 1 to have my novella polished and gleaming, turns of phrase perfected, characters alive on the page, story arc seamless. Once that novella is submitted, I’m at the mercy of agents,editors, publishers, critics, and—the ultimate terror—readers. What if they hate it? Or worse, what if my story is entirely forgettable? What if people realize I’m a big, fat fraud? Honestly, these thoughts occur every time I publish a blog post. When I post something new (which I’m trying to do more often. Really, I am!) and see that only a handful of people read it—and I am SO grateful for that handful, especially my darling 9 followers whom I adore!—fear taunts me. And I’m tempted to go find my door and jimmy it back into place so I can hide.

But I’m compelled to write, and compelled to offer my writing to any and all willing to read it. Therefore I must endure—embrace, even—doorlessness. And I’m trying. I may throw a fit occasionally when all I want is some STINKIN’ PRIVACY, but it’s what I’ve chosen—or what’s chosen me—so here I am. Doing my business for the world to see. Enjoy.

I thought I'd introduce Conner, who incidentally did not throw up.

Follow on Bloglovin 


  1. I LOVE this. It's spot on. As writers, we tend to be a private, bookish breed, and yet we feel compelled to share in print private things about ourselves that are then no longer private.

    Yes, those things may well come back to haunt us at Thanksgiving Dinner. Or, well, I've already had the joy of having a family member carp at me on social media about something I "dared" write. Oy.

    Best of luck with your bathroom renovations. When we had ours done, we moved into a hotel for nearly a month. Being in a hotel room with two snarling children and two increasingly irate parents is not much better than being without a bathroom. :)

    1. Oy, here's to hoping there's no further carping from family and a quick resolution to all things renovated :) Thanks for reading, Drema!

  2. Wonderful post, Anna! And I'm sorry about the bathroom situation! Best of luck with that - tell your hubs to get you a door!

    But, again, congratulations on the novella! :-)


Please, say hi and tell me your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you!