Stalking the Wild Muse: Writer Rituals & Habits

MusemedA series exploring the props, habits, and drugs that fuel the writer’s productivity. Past, present and future! Look for BVC writers, plus other authors we know and love.

By Brenda Clough

Some writers swear by nudity.  It helps them to write.  Benjamin Franklin was famous for his air baths which he indulged in every morning.  He also brought the first bathtub to America, from France, and would write in it.

It is only fair to say that summer in Philadelphia is horrifically hot and humid, and in July and August nudity has much to recommend it.  Writer Diane Ackerman reports in her A Natural History of the Senses:

I have a pine plank that I lay across the sides of the tub so that I can stay in a bubble bath for hours and hours and write. In the bath, water displaces much of your weight, and you feel light, your blood pressure drops.  When the water temperature and the body temperature converge, my mind lifts free and travels by itself.  One summer, lolling in baths, I wrote an entire verse play…ben-franklin-copper_bathtub-300x206



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Stalking the Wild Muse: Writer Rituals & Habits — 3 Comments

    • The very first book I ever dropped in a bathtub was also the first hardcover book I bought with my own money–Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein. I still have that copy. Its pages are still ripply.

  1. I don’t do tubs. I do showers, which is actually even more drying to the skin. You absolutely cannot read or write in a shower, although I bet a touchscreen could be rigged behind a waterproof membrane of some sort. Surf the net while showering, yes!