Imelda, The Wonder Tub

A is for Abbey

I am a hot-bath junkie.

I hit the tub late, after my family is asleep. Taking Roger Ebert’s movie reviews along guarantees I won’t be in bed before midnight. Often the cat will have a bath, too, curled up on the wicker chair.

Sooner or later I’ll nod off, the book dipping dangerously close to the high tide line.   That blurry stretch between waking and sleeping, up to my chin in hot water, is the best creative time of the day.

Take last night.

Right in the middle of Roger’s review of Incendies, I drifted off. For the past week I have been working on draft nine of a novel for 8-12 year-olds. I introduced a new character and am revising the last third of the book, trying to fit this new kid into the plot resolution. I was more tired than usual, having made a flying trip to a Billings print shop with six new letter paintings. I had thought about the novel all the way up and all the way home, and I’d revised four chapters on my laptop while waiting for my proofs.

I was really trying— looking at all the jumbled pieces and attempting to fit them together in a satisfying way.

At 10 p.m. I still had no good ideas.

Enter Imelda, the Wonder Tub.

Half asleep, I finally thought of the perfect pivot-point scene to pull all the secrets the three main characters are keeping out into the open.

I can only tell you this: it involves a decrepit recliner chair… and arson.

If this book ever makes it to publication, I will be deducting a ton of hot-water bills off the advance.