After the success of its Writers' Rooms series a couple of years back, The Guardian has just launched a more tech-sexy, new-millennium sequel, Writers' Desktops, featuring shots of authors' computer desktops and some accompanying chit-chat from the authors themselves in order to give us insight into . . . into . . . oh, I don't know. There's some language about having writers "show us around their working lives," and the suggestion that we might learn something about the relationship between technology and the "creative life" of contemporary writers. Writers in this case means a parade of Booker Prize short-listees and winners, as well as producers of the "better" genre fiction and "serious" non-fiction, all of whom will happen to have high profiles in recent literary journalism and contracts with the major corporate houses. In other words, here is yet another exercise in author-as-celebrity voyeurism, a gentrified and "distinction"-conferring version of something you'd find in a tabloid, like having one of the Kardashian sisters give you a guided tour of her thong drawer.
So, in the spirit of taking the piss, I'm launching this series of Writers' Toilets, starting with my own. The bowl and rim are a little cleaner than usual because we had company yesterday, but it still looks close to what you'd find on any average day when I might step across the hall from the room where I do my Literary Creating. The tile-work on the floor is attractive to look at but clammy and cold on the bottom of my feet - for some reason we still haven't purchased a mat. There's hardly any cabinet space; hence the case of TP on the back of the tank and the plastic storage box under the sink. Open on the plastic storage box is my reading for that morning's bowel movement, a recent issue of Chicago Review devoted to contemporary Italian writing. Like geological strata we can also see evidence of earlier bowel-movement reading peeking out from under the case of toilet paper - a copy of Dalkey Archive Press's Review of Contemporary Fiction (Vol. XXX, #3 The Editions P.O.L. Number, in fact). On a typical morning I have my bowel movement after my second cup of coffee and my first cigarette; afterwards I am ready to begin writing. At the end of the day I always read in bed before falling asleep; my wife pokes fun at me because I take my book with me to the toilet and continue reading while I stand there to pee. The toilet itself has a very satisfactory flush, something I had originally been worried about because the plumbing is quite old, and a definite improvement over the toilet in our previous place. We have only lived in this house for three or four months, but I have already had several fine story ideas while using this toilet.
Writers! Send me your toilet pics, plus any accompanying text and links, and I will post them here.