Michaeline: Water Therapy

Contemplative woman bathing 1915

Warm water is a womb for creativity. Why are there no fantasies that use the bathtub as a portal for another world? “Calgon, take me away!” (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

So, it’s summer vacation, and even though my daughter’s summer vacation is only three and a half weeks, I’m already going a little crazy. She headed for camp, I cleaned the house, we hosted Girl Scouts from the US, and today she had to take a test for placement in her cram school – she’s studying for the dreaded Japanese high school entrance exams. No time for writing.

Rush, rush, rush. And the heat means I didn’t sleep very well last week either.

So, I could have sat my butt in the library and stared at the screen for four hours. But instead, I chose to take a bath.

I’ve mentioned my local hot springs before. They have a lovely outdoor bath that Goldilocks would adore – not too hot, not too cold. And no bears climbing up the mountain, either! It’s got a great view of the town below, and the birds were very active in the trees today.

Only three or four people were there at 10 o’clock in the morning, so I spent an hour in the outdoor bath.

And while I didn’t have a “Eureka!” moment where I ran out of the tub to set up my laptop in the snack lounge, I did manage to get a good handle on my opening scene that I’d been struggling with. My current WIP is such a mix of things, and you really have to warn the reader in the first paragraphs what’s coming up – is this going to be romance? Magic? Creepy? Full of horror and blood? Mostly robots?

I think I managed to combine at least three major elements in my first paragraphs: New York, winter, ghosts, and a love interest. (Oh, wait, that’s at least four.) My breakthrough? I open with Bunny making a morning call on her boss, Mr. James, and she sees the ghost of her employer’s wife flit into the breakfast nook.

I’m curious about how this will all work out – I didn’t plan to have a real ghostly wife; I imagined some sort of Rebecca-memory-wife set-up. (Don’t get the Rebecca reference? Here’s a Wikipedia link. Classic romantic mystery involving a second wife, a brooding husband and a foreboding housekeeper in a country mansion.) But now . . . just how much will Mrs. James play a part in the story?

(-: I’m still in the discovery phase. The fun part. But I’m glad I took that bath this morning!

9 thoughts on “Michaeline: Water Therapy

  1. You’re so lucky to have a hot spring nearby, Michaeline, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer morning. Glad you got some good ideas out of it.

    I’m an enthusiastic water baby. I’ve had some wonderful holiday soaks in volcanic hot springs – bathing under the stars near Arenal volcano in Costa Rica, and thermal pools with spectacular mountain views at Termas de Papallacta on the altiplano in Ecuador (http://www.termaspapallacta.com/lodging/cabins). Hot tubs are wonderful too – at this gorgeous hotel on Vancouver Island (http://www.sookeharbourhouse.com) we had a hot tub on our balcony, looking out over the sea to the Olympic mountains. Bliss. And for everyday luxury, it’s upstairs to the bathroom at Casa Jilly with Burt’s Bees bath salts and my Kindle in a waterproof freezer bag 😉 .

    • When I was a kid, the summer vacation entertainment choices were go to the swimming pool, or go to the air-conditioned library. (-: I carry that summer love for water and books with me to this day.

      I am lucky to have so many hot springs in the area. And because they are so plentiful, it’s easy to find cheap ones. My favorite is about $7, but if you bring your own towels, you can easily find cheaper ones.

      I love a mountain view! Under the stars! Sounds beautiful, Jilly!

      Oddly enough, I can’t really indulge at home. We have a 24-hour bath thing, and the machinery won’t let us add salts or bubbles or anything. It just feels like such a hassle to fill up a tub. But when someone else is doing the maid-work . . . let the soaking begin!

  2. All these beautiful outdoor baths and no one has a picture? (Please excuse my crankiness. I woke up with an intestinal ailment last night. On the upside, if I need an emergency colonoscopy today, I’m good to go.)

    • Follow the link to the Papallacta hotel (in my comment above) and then click on the Flickr ‘play’ arrow, and you’ll get a whole series of lovely outdoor baths and mountains. It might provide a temporary distraction from your suffering. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    • Oh, you poor thing! I had that a couple of weeks ago . . . summer flu is such a pain.

      (-: I wanted to take a picture, but they kind of frown on bringing cameras into the bathing areas. However, http://www.recruit-hokkaido-jalan.jp/guide/h00177. The first picture isn’t flooring — that’s a super-hot indoor bath (41 yesterday) that looks out onto the outdoor baths. The last pic is a “family bath” for mixed bathing (I think), and I haven’t had the pleasure.

      Hope you are feeling better! That’s the thing about these violent illnesses, they are often over quite quickly, and leave you, um, cleansed.

  3. Having a hot springs close would be so wonderful, Michaeline! And how thrilling to get some literary resolution as well as a nice soak. Jeanne, I hope you feel better soon.

    • This is going to sound kind of nuts and new-agey, but hey, I’m a fantasy writer! The question is: do you find certain elements helpful for writing? I’ve heard of some writers lighting candles (fire) or writing outside (air). Superstition is a bit of a placebo, I think, but if a placebo works . . . .

      • My astrological sign is a Leo, a fire sign. I think it’s weird (although I know nothing about astrology) that I do some of my best thinking in water. Are the fire signs connected to water, astrologically speaking? I have no idea.

        • (-: I suspect that whatever works, works. You could say that the water drowns your essential fire essence, and that lets the story come through the conduit of your brain. Or you are missing some water and by adding that into the mix, you are a wholer person. Or any other thing. I am a fantasy fan and writer, so it’s my job to make up reasons for magic to work, LOL. The important thing is that you know water works for you (-:.

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