Friday Speak Out!: My Shampoo Muse, Guest Post by Terry Cobb

Friday, March 15, 2013
I’ve heard writers speak of a muse who whispers inspiration in their ears and opens the floodgates of creativity allowing beautiful prose to flow onto their tablets as they write at their desks. Not me. My muse lives in a shampoo bottle and she waits until my hair is fully lathered before she pops out and lands in my soap dish. She may be a genie, but she’s no Barbara Eden. Think Roseanne Barr wrapped in a ratty towel and her head adorned with a terry cloth turban. Smacking bubble gum, she dispenses writing advice in addition to soap.

She says things like, “Hey, sis, chapter five is a real snoozer. You need to juice it up with some action, like a fight in the pub, or kill off that wallflower, Mary. She’s not adding anything anyway. And while you’re at it, kill off those adverbs. Geez.”

So it goes until the water turns chilly and my skin becomes pruney. But when I shut off the shower, she flies back into the bottle and takes her advice with her. No matter how fast I towel off, I can’t get to a notepad or keyboard fast enough to capture all of her ideas. Did she say I needed a fight in a pub…or was it a tub?

When the monthly water bill arrives, my husband shakes his head. He’s heard the shampoo genie/muse explanation before. He sighs and asks how close I am to finishing my novel. I smile and shrug. I don’t have the heart to tell him my muse thinks it should be a series.

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Terry Cobb resides with her husband on a farm in north central Missouri, where she writes, gardens, and photographs whatever catches her eye. You can visit with her on her blog, .
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Unknown said...

OK, what makes this really funny is I've done the same thing. There must be something about a hot shower and the act of focusing on a physical action that loosens the creativity. I find the same thing happens when I'm out for a jog or walk.

Marcia Peterson said...

Been there! Like Julie said, walking/jogging and showers are the best idea generators.

Renee Roberson said...

Yes, exactly ladies! Endorphins and hot showers make a great creative pair here, too!

Angela Mackintosh said...

I'm so there with you, Terry! It sounds like your shower muse is actually your inner editor, like mine is. If I take a shower after I wrote something, she'll revise my sentences and suggest better intros. Now that I think about it, it's very possible she could be Roseanne Barr!

Unknown said...

I thought there was something wrong with me! Glad to see I have company pretty much the whole of my plot for my second novel came to me while I was swimming one evening and it has nothing to do with water! I got out quickly dried off and went to get a coffee and spent the next hour scribbling in my notebook!!

tlcobb said...

Thank you so much for your comments. I am so glad that I am not alone having a water muse. I just wish someone would make a waterproof/shampoo proof laptop. I shudder to think what our water bill would be!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Terry--What a great muse you have. Those negative, gum-snapping muses are the best. They're going to help us move our manuscript/story/article forward; the muses who just gush over our stuff are simple piles of fluff.

Now, I'm going to shampoo my hair...

Val said...

Oh, it's the SHOWER! I've been giving credit to the thyroid pill I take right before jumping into the spray.

Margo Dill said...

Val: Maybe it's both! HA!

Don't they make a pad of paper or something that you can write on in the shower? I need one of those. :)

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