Art Imitates Life

March 10, 2009 at 9:11 am (Random Thoughts, Virtual Gems, Writing)


There’s a small part of me that wishes I could be like Monica on Friends. You know what nov17friends1I’m talking about–obsessively clean, gets a thrill in organizing, wants nothing more under the Christmas tree (or, given Monica, as a Hanukkah gift) than a ShamWow. Remember what she did when she and Rachel had to move into Chandler and Joey’s apartment? How many of us didn’t give a little sigh and say wistfully, “I’d live there…” (And yes, I know Monica and Rachel and everybody else are part of T.V. Land and thus Not Real, but I’m making a point here.)

But I’m not like that. Yes, I enjoy it when my house is clean as much as the next person, though a clean house is not at the top of my priority list. Not even in the top three. In fact, I’d have to take a hard look at my list to see where it did fall. And as much as I could regale you with what my list did contain, I’ll save you that journey and tell you what absolutely, positively comes above cleaning every time.


I’m one of those writers who has willingly and openly given up a 90347ea-clean-house-postersclean house so that I may dedicate more time to my writing. (And that includes the physical act of writing, as well as researching, planning, editing, replenishing the creative well, playing with The Girls and everything else under my Writing Umbrella.) I know there are those of you who manage to balance writing and cleaning and I take my hat off to you. Of course, I’d probably leave it dropped on the back of the couch as I went for my laptop, but that’s my burden to bear.

Why this post, why now? Because I had an epiphany this weekend, that’s why. We have company coming this weekend, so this past weekend was spent cleaning. Not just my usual straighten-the-stacks cleaning either, I’m talking products, tools and attachments. It started Friday night and ended Sunday about 4:30. (There’s still a few more things to be done, but after two straight days of bending, stretching and reaching, I was pooped.)

But the epiphany, Pam, you scream. What about the epiphany?

Mid-day Sunday I was doing another pass with the vacuum cleaner when a thought struck me. In the Harry Dresden books, somewhere around book 7 or 8, we are told that as a thank you for a service Harry did for some group of the Fey (I’d have to look to be exact, but you get the gist of it…), a group of Brownies (not the girl scouts) now comes and cleans Harry’s apartment and stocks the refrigerator with food. Around this book, I’m sure Jim Butcher (the author) was writing the Dresden books, writing his Codex Alera series, and possibly somehow involved with his Sci-Fi series of Harry Dresden. Plus, his wife, Shannon, had her first book of a series coming out around this clean_house1time and I will bet you dollars to donuts that the Butcher household was crazy busy. I can just see it. During one of the 3.5 free seconds they had during the day, Jim and Shannon found themselves on the couch, barely enough energy to talk. One of them rolled their head to face the other and said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have some fairies come and clean the house for us? We wouldn’t see them, just come back from (activity here) and it would be done? The laundry and the shopping, all done.” And Jim, brilliant writer that he is, put that idea in his book. Now, it might not have happened anything like that, or I may be reading far too much into one little detail of some 20+ book (planned) series, but I can’t help but wonder if in this case the idea came from real life.

No wonder he’s a bestseller.



  1. Hollie said,

    Hi Pam!!sign me up for the fairies to show up here…although i am NOT a writer…i Am a reader!! i would rather have a book in my hand than a feather duster!..or yarn and needles in my hands rather than a feather duster…anything other than a feather duster!! but then someone shows up on our doorstep and i become a whirling dervish!! the mind is willing to put forth the effort in having a clean home….but unfortunately the flesh is weak in making it come true…sigh……oh well…off to grab another book!! *snork*

  2. Marilyn Brant said,

    OMG, I so want some fairies to show up. Our house…it’s just going to require days and days to clean after the neglect it’s gotten in the past few weeks. Because, you know, I HAD to watch “Castle”…and someone needed to shop for groceries…and there IS this whole writing gig…and checking email is a daily necessity :). BTW, I’m printing out “The House was Clean Last Week” picture above and taping it to our front door. It doesn’t happen to be true, in my case, but if I cross out “week” and replace it with “month”…

  3. Robin said,

    OMG! You never cease to amaze me, Pam! You know how much I love, love, love Harry Dresden (seriously, I love him! And the hubby is okay with that. 🙂 ) and now you’ve made one of your brilliant connections with the amazing author, Jim Butcher. Loved this post! I’d love the fairies to visit my house too!

    Only three more weeks or so until the next book…

  4. Pam said,

    Hollie–yes, this applies to readers, too. And with the “mind is willing, flesh is weak,” I think we share the same DNA somewhere! 🙂

    Marilyn–wouldn’t that be nice? And whenever we have a housecleaning, we look at each other and brainstorm who we can have over, so all of the guests come sometime during that clean house time. 😉

    Robin–I knew you’d love this post! Though I am starting to worry about your man-stable. Brad, Daniel, now Harry. Although you don’t seem to be stressed about cleaning! 😀

  5. Griffin Asher said,

    Lol! I. Want. That. Doormat! 😛

  6. pamwritesromance said,

    Griffin–it sounds like you’re going to have to fight Marilyn for it! (And I may throw my hat in the ring, too.) 😀

  7. Lainey Bancroft said,

    Woot! I can’t believe no one thought to give me a SHAMWOW for Christmas! Imagine what it could have done to shine up my monitor and make my keyboard click happily along!

    Great connection, Pam. Letting the ‘real’ seep in IS, IMHO, where the real gold lies in fiction.

  8. Kyle said,

    I have definitely been bitten by the cleaning bug. My room is a pile of papers and empty cups and books. And clothes in two piles on the floor (one for clean and one for dirty!).

    I do writing over everything else, especially cleaning. If I’m in the zone, nothing else matters…

    And I love Monica, but she’s kind of a nutjob!

  9. Pam said,

    Lainey–do you want us to whisper in Mr. Lainey’s ear? (Sorry, it’s still hard to call him Gas without giggling like Beevis and Butthead.) One ShamWow, coming up! 🙂

    Kyle–yup, gotta follow the muse, regardless of laundry, dishes or dust bunnies. And yeah, I loved Monica, too. (Though I think I was more a Phoebe fan!) 🙂

  10. Kyle said,

    Pam – WE MISS YOU!

    Hope no blogging means you’re too busy doing other things!!!


  11. L.A. Mitchell said,

    I, too, have had to give up a spotless house. I’d rather have an epitaph that reads “Dedicated writer” than “Always Vaccuumed”. Thank goodness we writers can commiserate in our messiness 🙂

  12. Caryn Caldwell said,

    First of all, I LOVE the rug! And, secondly, your writing HAS to come first. When you make all the bestseller lists then you can hire someone to cook and clean and do your laundry and go to the grocery store for you. Ahhh. That sounds nice.

    As for how he came up with the idea, it made me laugh, because I do the exact same thing — imagining how authors came up with certain details in their books. Some stuff is just too creative — yet too realistic — to be made up.

  13. lefaubdifiefe said,

    Wonderful website=) i will definitely come back soon:D

  14. kliskb said,

    i like her hair on this picture do u know which episode is it from…because i want to get my hair done like this in the picture and i need to show it to my hairdresser…please if anyone knows…tell me!

  15. kliskb said,

    oh…i forgot to ask you one more thing…if you could tell me until the 14th of september i would be very grateful to all of you because i want to get my hair done for school…thank you…

  16. Pamela Cayne said,

    kliskb–sorry, I just googled Monica and found this picture. I bet if you tried that, you’d be able to find a great picture for your hairdresser. Good luck!

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