Sometimes An Idea Just Comes to You

“Where do you get your ideas?” people ask when I tell them I’m a writer. “Did this really happen to you?” they whisper, dying to know more about my tragic upbringing.

The truth is stories are everywhere, swirling around in the air, crowded onto city buses and sitting bored to death in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Ideas go to the supermarket and out to dinner. They wait by the school bus and come home with your third grader who bursts into the house wailing, “Mom…hey Mom, it wasn’t my fault!… And sometimes they just show up in the bathroom.

“Honey, there’s a frog in the bathtub.”

My husband and I have had many interesting conversations over the years while preparing for bed, but I never heard anything quite like this, so of course I responded eloquently.

“Huh?”

“There’s a frog in the bathtub,” he repeated, this time backing into the bedroom his eyes never wavering from the tub.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked

“You mean you didn’t put it there?”

“No, I didn’t put a frog in the tub,” I assured him, following him back into the bathroom.

I call my master bathroom, complete with towel warmer and a wine rack, my playroom. Always nearby are a crystal candy dish well filled with chocolates and a stack of bestsellers waiting for hectic evenings when I need a bit of pampering. It is not a place where I ever envisioned frogs. I had to see this for myself.

Sure enough, there it was. Not a frog, but a garden toad, squatting on the tile rim of the tub.

“Where did that come from?” I asked as my husband leaned toward the stubby grey/brown creature, one of its beady eyes staring at me looking at him.

“Beats me,” the darling boy I married answered, just as the creature shifted slightly. “Holy crap, it’s alive!” he exclaimed, jumping back.

It’s alive all right,” I agreed.

Where did it come from? I puzzled, trying to picture a toad slipping by me as I brought in the mail. Somehow I couldn’t picture it hopping down the hall to the stairs, maneuvering up two flights of steps, taking a right turn down another hall into my bedroom and turning left past the walk-in closets and into the bathroom without being spotted.

“Are you sure you didn’t put it there?” my husband mumbled, rifling through his closet for a shoebox and easing the toad into it for a trip to the flowerbeds out back.

“It must have come up through the pipes,” I answered.

“I’d rather think you put it there,” he told me. “Just tell me you put it there, OK? The idea of a frog making an appearance from any of the fixtures is not something I want to consider.” At that point he actually shuddered a bit.

“OK baby. If it will make you feel better, I put it there to surprise you. Do you feel better?”

He did. A few minutes later he was sound asleep dreaming of frog free zones and living happily ever after with a wife who likes surprises.

For me it was another thing altogether. I lay awake wondering how that toad really got in and how many ways I could devise to sell the story. If anyone asks me where I got my idea I’ll tell them, “It just came to me in the bathroom.”

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2 Responses to “Sometimes An Idea Just Comes to You”

  1. clarbojahn Says:

    Before my parents died they built a retirement cabin, where in the front yard my Dad built a big frog. The name of their place was Froskepollen. Or frolicking frogs. My mom had a huge frog collection. Thanks for this post.

  2. schizophrenicwriter aka Bobbi Carducci Says:

    Clar,
    Froskepollen is a great word! Thank you for sharing your family frog sotry.

    Ever since that little creature showed up in my bathroom I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for them, especally since I did sell the story.

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