A friend recently signed out a copy of my first novel, Heavy Load (a laundromance), from the library and asked me if “laundromance” is just a catchy word I introduced to sell lots more copies of the book. I assured him that nothing in Creation would help me to sell lots more copies of the book, and that the book has six characteristics that make a laundromance, these being:
- A laundromance depicts everyday, common life. The stains on your laundry are out in the open in the laundromat. And, let’s face it…doing your laundry is one of life’s mundane rituals that can’t be escaped unless you can afford to have your laundry done by someone else, or you’re 35 and still living at home.
- It must be narrated by the laundromat. Yep, the laundromat is sentient and can go into the minds and bodies of its customers where it visits their pasts through a liver or dimple, or goes into their brains to see what’s happening in the present. Got this idea from a book called Focusing by Eugene T. Gendlin.
- There must be a least one laundry tip. I visited the Tide site repeatedly while I was researching for the book. I also found tips on dozens of other sites, and I asked for tips from the folks running the Paragon Laundromat in Fredericton for tips. They had a lot of tips. For instance, you never throw your clothing and soap and bleach in right off. Especially the bleach. Let the machine fill up with some water, then add soap and bleach and let it mix before putting the clothes in.
- There must be an element of real or potential romance. I mean…it’s a laundromance.
- None of the romantically involved characters are allowed to speak to each other. In Heavy Load, none of the three main characters involved in a three-way relationship on a Saturday morning speak to each other at any point in the story. But in the end, love blooms. Or…potentially blooms.
- Always, the main theme is: Things get dirty, things get clean. After all, a laundromat is a place of regeneration. After a visit there, you suddenly have a whole new wardrobe, a regenerated wardrobe.
My friend nodded knowingly and walked away without comment, obviously impressed with my deep-seated understanding of humanity and its relation to dirty clothes.
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