It’s not much of a secret that I excel at housework, or that I like housework as much as I like writing books about smartasses. But I admit, and I have admitted before, that I have a rather complicated relationship with one chore: ironing.
A few days after I met the man I would later marry, I shot myself in the foot by offering to iron his shirt. It’s been 22 years and I’m still ironing his shirt.
I used to love ironing. Honest.
I. Loved. Ironing.
Truly. I loved the process. I loved the mind-clearing, methodical pattern of pressing the collar, the sleeves, the yoke. I loved how I’d start with the chaos of crinkles and wind up with crisp fabric. Oh! It was bliss to iron!
Really. I swear to the deity of your choice. I loved ironing.
Before my husband and I married we actually discussed the division of labour, meaning we discussed what chores we would and would NOT do. For some reason, twenty some years ago, I picked ironing over mowing the yard because I loved to iron. What’s happened over time is that I began to dislike ironing the same bloody 10 shirts (my beloved has a squillion other shirts, yet chooses the same 10 all the time). However, I did not want to trade or switch to mowing the yard–or weeding or anything that would make me get dirty and sweaty because I am a complete and utter wuss. So when I ironed I tried to recapture what I loved about it. Then I just would try to make it, let’s say, FUN.
Yeah. I know ironing = fun. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
Anyhow, I’d set up the ironing board in front of the TV, pop in a DVD, and get down to pressing my beloved’s business shirts. I’d try to find solace in that DVD, try to forget that I was ironing the same shirt I’d ironed a week ago. I endeavoured to lose myself in Casino Royale, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Bourne Identity, Three Days of the Condor, in anything that would engross me enough that I’d forget I was ironing.
What happened instead is that I wound up with a comedic romantic suspense novel featuring a smartass heroine who was all about the mind-clearing methodical order out of chaos through ironing.
Then I took that character, Mae Valentine, and put her in an apron because I wear an apron when I’m doing housework– I also wear pyjamas when I clean and iron, but an apron works better on a professional butler than a pair of flannel pyjamas. It took me a little while of writing Mae before I realised she and I shared certain proclivities–like wearing an apron and keeping things tidy. I was cool with that. I understand that characters are sometimes imbued with elements that come directly from the writer’s psyche. I’m totally cool with that. It happened on an unconscious level while I was trying to make ironing fun.
I know! Ironing = fun! BWHAHAHAHAHA!
Anyhow, when a writer friend of yours, whom you admire, tells you that they enjoyed beta reading your romantic suspense book about Mae Valentine, but they pictured YOU as Mae Valentine.. and then they tell you that they got all OH DEAR GOD when they got to the sex scene because they’d pictured IRONING-APRON-WEARING YOU as the character doing it with the hero you wrote, a cross between Toby Stephens, Daniel Craig and Clive Owen.
Oh, ironing for me will never be the same again. Now when I iron I’ll blush, and think about how Rebekah Turner pictured me naked and bonking a cross between Toby/Daniel/Clive.
Or I’ll simply put on an apron and a DVD and try to come up with another way to try to make ironing fun.
I know! Ironing = fun. BWAHAHAHAHA!