Oh yes! We are absolutely running a series on bathroom reading! So long as it's taking place behind the closed (or open, if that's the way you swing) bathroom door, we want to know what it is. It can be a book, the back of the shampoo bottle, the newspaper, or Twitter on your cell phone - whatever helps you pass the time...
Today, MP Johnson gives us the toilet treatment. His short stories have appeared in more than 25 underground books and magazines, including Bare Bone and Cthulhu Sex. His debut book, The After-Life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone, was recently released by Bizarro Pulp Press. He is the creator of Freak Tension zine, a B-movie extra and an obsessive music fan currently based in Minneapolis. Learn more at www.freaktension.com.
I don’t read novels on the toilet. I’ve tried. I end up getting sucked in and staying on the sweet seat well after I’ve done my business and crusted over. When I get up, I can barely stand through the pins and needles of legs that have fallen asleep, and I imagine falling face first into the radiator and knocking myself unconscious. If you can read a novel on the toilet, you’ve got more willpower than me or you read shitty novels.
I don’t read comic books on the toilet either. I’ve tried that too. I’m too anal about keeping them in mint condition, and somehow if I bring them into the danger zone they turn into magnets, pulling in liquid, and their value decreases exponentially. I don’t bring my phone, IPad, laptop, etc. into the bathroom for the same reason.
When I’ve got a number two brewing, there’s only one thing that’s coming with me: a zine. You know about zines, right? Do-it-yourself, often-photocopied publications typically filled with content that is easily absorbed in short bursts.
Take, for example, Hot Dog Dayz #3, which I just got in the mail. It’s filled with collages made out of old wrestling trading cards and photos of mangled couch cushions in the woods, easy to stare at in a zen-like trance as your body eases its waste into the great porcelain sea. Or how about No Vanguard #2 and its stark black and white images paired with stream of consciousness rants about drinking whisky and pondering the cosmos? Thinking and stinking, that’s what I do.
More substantial business requires a zine with more than just images. I was recently gifted a stack of Wasted Quarter zines dating back to the late ‘90s. Each one is filled with microscopic print that obsessive-compulsively, and quite humorously, covers every aspect of the author’s life, from going to the Northtown Mall to creating answering machine greetings entirely out of Fred Flintstone phrases and Hanna Barbera sound effects.
Sometimes, I need fiction. I’ve got a couple issues of Splatterpunk zine, so I can read gore stories and interviews with the likes of Ray Garton and get inspired while I’m perspiring out a hard load. I also recently got Wizened Youth by Michael Kazepis, which is technically a chapbook but it looks like a zine to me so what the fuck. I read the whole thing while making waste, and loved every sentence. Fictionalized accounts of Henry Rollins’ Black Flag days? Hell yeah!
So, ummm, want to borrow some zines?