Saturday, 20 October 2012

Pulling it through.

If you have ever lived in a household where the residents have long hair, then you – at least one of you – will know all about the Bathplug Phenomenon. 

If you are a nice, clean person, when you get out of the bath you will not walk away leaving a frowsty rime of indeterminate stuffness adhering to the sides of the bath – especially the roundy corners nearest the plug and the plimsoll line where the top of the water sat.  Not you.  Swathing yourself in a towel, the end gripped firmly under your left armpit, your hair turbaned up in another towel, you will grab the shampoo (or bicarbonate of soda, depending on your Cleaning Persuasion, for cleanliness is next to godliness and therefore has fiercely defended denominations and hierarchies of purity) and clean the bath conscientiously as the water goes down – thus wasting no extra water, but keeping things moving so the sides don’t get scummy as the tub drains.  Gosh, that was a long sentence!  No editors here, hahaha!

And somewhere in this proceedings your eye will fall upon the plughole (not literally, friend) and there spot a thin skein of hair wound round its metal divisions.  A slender, diffident presence of hair, innocent in appearance.  Assiduous in your bathly attentions, you drop the cloth and reach down to pull it out.  It resists firmly.  You tug a little harder.  It comes loose.  There is more than you first thought.  Uh oh. 

You know what comes next?

If you pull it steadily and gently, not yanking it or breaking it, you will draw forth a boggling splendour of yuck and grot, a foot or so of grey soapslimed lumpy hairwaste, a tangling (I inadvertently type tnagling and that’s an even better description) lanyard of human hair hanging grimly but impressively onto anything else that fell down there unnoticed. 

Before you put it in the bin, you gaze at it in awe.  You display it briefly to anyone you can find to flabberghast with its hideous gnarly length.

Sometimes writing a book can be E X A C T L Y like that.  So it is right now.  I have only just finished the last one and already one editor is serving me up bright ideas for future Bumper Collections and another is mailing me a contract for a devotional series and a small clutter of editing projects I’ve promised to do is muttering in the wings, threatening the peace of my natural indolence.

So I am, as they say, running on empty.  I have to get alone with the Spirit of God, in the small hours of the night which is the only time total isolation and silence is guaranteeable in my experience, and Watch The Plughole of the empty white inner bathtub of mind, scoured clean of every clinging thought as my last project drained away.

And there, wound round the stainless steel symmetry of my discharged intellect, right there where the unseen plumbing descends on its mysterious journey into the hidden underground of my subconscious, behind the painted wainscot and below the varnished floorboards of the everyday, there I espy a slender strand, the coyly twining threads of an idea.  I reach down . . . and gently, steadily, carefully begin to pull . . .


365 366 Day 294 – Saturday Oct 20th
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here) 

Mugs/cups/jug, some made by a Hastings potter, others mass-produced.  We liked them but we have so many . . .

365 366 Day 293 – Friday Oct 19th 

A musical biscuit tin that played Winter Wonderland (I know, I know – embarrassing, isn’t it) and various other bits of kitchen impedimenta.

365 366 Day 289-292  

Sunday Oct 14th – Wednesday Oct 18th
Ooh, there were some pretty things here!  I loved that jug – but it encompassed a Snag I hadn’t thought of; impossible to clean.  The speckled stoneware is made by a Cambridge potter, and I liked it a lot – but other household residents did not, and we have quite enough junk with the stuff we do all like.  The casserole was just the sweetest thing – about big enough for one (so of course we never used it).

365 366 Day 287-288 – Saturday Oct 13th – Sunday Oct 14th

A bevy of hangers.

365 366 Day 285-286 – Thursday Oct 11th – Friday Oct 12th  

Two tin plates.  One I liked, one I didn’t.  The blue and white one was a favourite, but you know, tin plates – well, everything’s fine until you want to eat hot food. Oh – assuming you are as slovenly as I am and hardly ever eat sitting on a chair at a table but mostly curled up on a bed or a sofa with the plate in your hand or perched on the side of your knee.  I am not good at sitting up straight.  I had an Alexander Teacher for a short while when I was nineteen, principally out of curiosity; she said I had the laziest back she’d ever seen.


Ganeida said...

OK, don't rush round & show everyone. In my experience that breaks the strand & one has to put all sorts of things down the plug hole to fish for the broken stray end! ☺ Hope all goes well & the snarly mess is full of wonderful ideas!

Rebecca said...

Smiling all the way through the "tnagling"--praying as I go for the UNtnagling of your thought processes and for grace to analyze & organize your time and surroundings to accomplish God's purposes in the upcoming hours and days.

(Should you like to farm out some of the editing projects, I'd be happy to assist.)

Julie B. said...

When a writer can make a reader wrinkle their nose, squint their eyes, purse their lips, and grit their teeth and inwardly hiss all from reading a couple of paragraphs about long hair stuck in a drain, it's safe to say that writer is a good writer. :)


Buzzfloyd said...

Oh lordy, yes, the hair. But, on the bright side, clearly you are so marvellous that your publishers want to keep employing you. So you just have to ask the Spirit to help out.

"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:20-21

Pen Wilcock said...

Ganeida that is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT - nothing I write is up for viewing or discussion - ever - until it's safely in the bag. Writing is for communication, and the psychological reasoning of the subconscious seems to be 'Once it's communicated, my job is done.'

Hi Rebecca - thank you so much for your prayer - I've said it so many times here but it really does go on being true - being prayed for makes a startling difference, that can be felt and that has clear and definite results.

Julie B :0D xxx

Buzz - yes, and He does! I'm expecting to come up to chapel with you tomorrow morning unless there's any reason not to. x

Anonymous said...

Oh my...I am ever so sorry that I sat down to read your post while eating a plate of spaghetti...

And while on the subject, there are some advantages to bathing along the river's edge, don't you think?


Gerry Snape said...

I shall never think of the plus-hole in the same way again!! good post!

Pen Wilcock said...

Judy - spaghetti! Hahahaha! I NEVER eat spaghetti - inflicts too much damage on my clothing - very undignified when I attempt it - need a pelican bib . . .

Gerry :0) Hiya! x

Sandra Ann said...

Hmm, thank goodness for middle of the night quiet times!

When things are crazy remember He will always give you what you need.

San xx

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Waving!

Paula said...

I'm catching up my reading after being away for the weekend. Thank you to everyone, and especially you, Pen, for such a joyful tnagled treat. <3

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) x