Why Writers Don’t Wipe

Ruthanne Reid
Ruthanne Reid

To you, it’s just a bathroom. It’s utilitarian and cold. Maybe you notice the monogrammed towels or how the mauve soap dish complements the pink accents on the sconces, but you don’t think twice about it. It’s just a bathroom. You are not a writer.

To us writers, it’s a borrowed domain. It’s a place we mark as our own, temporarily, while we give a part of ourselves away. It’s where we let go, and it’s where we know the darkest parts of ourselves. It’s where we say goodbye to the things inside of us that we thought we wouldn’t miss, but inevitably, even flushing away our waste serves as a reminder of the atrophic nature of life and love. When we poop, we can’t help but think of lost romances defined by the painfully mundane moments in a relationship – the little spats, the tense silences, and the discourteous, dismissive texts that chipped away at our union in infinitesimal increments that collectively lead to its demise. Every flushed shit reminds a writer of the things we thought we wouldn’t miss. We don’t see a bathroom. We see a porcelain and Formica mausoleum, entombing our heartbreaks thus far, through unintentional semaphores of splats and stinks. We see a story.

So we get up, and we retain a little bit of the mess as a keepsake. As writers, we never wipe. We tuck the little flecks of poo betwixt our cheeks and wait for a day where it won’t be too painful to look at them again. Where the smell of a long gone shit evokes hope through nostalgia, rather than an immediate, crushing sense of loss. We yearn for the day when we can reach into our asses, pull out a petrified sheet of poo, delicate like a dried rose pressed in an old novel, and remind ourselves that we are still full of shit, and have plenty of shit to give to the world. We know that a broken heart, however many times over, is just an ass that is waiting to be wiped. We know that an unwiped ass, is the only ass with character.

We leave the bathroom, and we walk around like this, impressing our stench on the people around us. We drift through this world of lesser, non-writers, with their clean assholes and their inability to think and feel like us. We wonder how these zombies reconcile their existence as sterile, vapid automatons, without a stink, without an identity, and without an ability to feel. We become overwhelmed with all the symbolism in the world, and our inherent responsibility to point it out to non-writers. A coffee shop to you is simply a business to patronize, a place to indulge your caffeine addiction. To us, it is a sanctuary. We breathe in the artwork on the walls, and the snippets of conversation we extract from inferior, non-writer strangers, cure it with half a pack of cigarette smoke and marinate it in a Colombian dark roast. The same creative forces that flow through us and allow us to spew liquid shit all over the toilet and our Macbooks pass through you like radio waves, unnoticed and ignored. Creativity to you is a WiFi network that you don’t have the password to, but we do because our friend Ben works here and he gave it to us. We take our laptop into the bathroom and log on to an internet called ourselves. You shit when you have time, we shit whenever we can.

We don’t wipe, because to wipe would be to wash away our identities. We look at the smiles on your faces, and we want to run far away. We want to curl up into a ball, so very tight. Tightly bound like hot atoms, imploding into ourselves to such a degree that we might even be able to fit our heads into our asses, and live internally, surrounded by the smell of our own, perfect, writer shit that possesses so much more substance than you could ever know. We don’t wipe, because we’re writers. TC mark

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Image Credit: Ruthanne Reid

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