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Getting Up! – The Writer’s Way

The alarm is searing through the early morning stillness. It’s screaming to be silenced. I get up with my eyes half closed. Being somewhat short-sighted, I think that squinting aids my ability to see this early in the morning.

Unfortunately my periphery vision is now limited and I trip over something on the floor. I land heavily with a thud and the floor boards creak. Shhh! I am not sure exactly what it is. It is likely to be a pair of shoes, disguised by yesterday’s clothing that was discarded, shortly before I clambered into bed last night.

Slightly off balance I stagger towards the en-suite and trip over something else en route. Shhh! I really must tidy up today.

Iain, my husband snuffles, rolls over and starts snoring softly.

I rebound off the architrave as I enter, so I catch hold of the sink to steady myself. After a few seconds I rub my tongue over the front of my teeth and reach for the toothbrush. I have to squint again to make sure I pick up the right one.

Steadier now, I turn to gently click the door shut. Turning back, I pick up the toothpaste, take off the lid and squeeze the tube from the bottom. The paste pops into the gaps in the tube where Iain has squeezed from the top; it then splodges from the nozzle. Half of it lands on the side of the brush, the rest blobs somewhere in the sink. Shhh! I can’t see it and mentally shrug.

I turn on the cold tap and swish the brush underneath it and start scrubbing my teeth rapidly. I turn the water off whilst I brush as global warming crosses my mind. Then I turn the cold water on again and I clean off my brush. It chinks as I put it back in its place. I cup my right hand under the gurgling stream of water and bring it to my mouth to rinse and spit out the minty residue.

I wipe my hand around the inside the bowl in the vague hope that I might whoosh away the toothpaste blob, then turn off the tap.

As I step towards the shower, I glance over to the towel rail ladder. There are four rungs one for each of the different towels we use daily. Shhh! Iain’s one is there, as always draped over the rail, not folded neatly like I want it done. But my towels, the one for my hair and the one that I wrap around my body are in one of the piles on the floor in the bedroom where I left them yesterday. Shhh! That means they will be slightly damp still.

I slide open the door to the shower which rattles on its rails and lean in to press the on button. As the water starts to pump through, red and blue lights flash to indicate that it is not yet warm enough to climb under. There is time enough to re-enter the bedroom to seek the pile with my towels in it. Each pile has had to be investigated by touch and feel. Shhh! I kick something that is solid. It’s dark and I can’t see without my glasses.

I attack a third pile and finally find what I am looking for. Triumphant, I make my way back for my shower. I am steadier this time; my eyes have adjusted to the darkness. I chuck the towels on the floor in front of the shower – not much point in hanging them up neatly now is there? I reach down to grab the bottom of my night dress and drag it from the hem up and over my head. It turns inside out as I do this. So I screw it into a ball shape and lob it into the washing basket.

I glance at the red and blue lights, they are not flashing now – it is safe to slide the door open and get under the steaming cascade.

That’s it! I smile – the first one of the day. In five minutes I’ll be out the shower, spraying antiperspirants and drying my hair. Time for Iain to be getting up – me thinks.


In this exercise from The Writer’s Way, Sara Maitland asks us to describe a mundane journal activity. In this we should attempt to convey not only what we see, but what we hear, touch, feel and smell in detail.

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