Friday, June 22, 2018

Jennifer Spiegel Takes It To The Toilet

Oh yes! We absolutely have 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, Jennifer Spiegel takes it to the toilet. She is mostly a fiction writer with two books and a miscellany of short publications, though she also teaches English and creative writing. She is part of Snotty Literati, a book-reviewing gig, with Lara Smith. She lives with her family in Arizona. And So We Die, Having First Slept, following ten years of an unorthodox marriage involving Sappho, brain injury, and bath salt addiction, will be published in December 2018. 

I was looking for a Band-Aid. That’s why I was in there.

I opened cabinets, opened drawers, peeked behind dusty brown bottles of peroxide. Surely, we had one. Our kids had passed the Decorative Bandage Stage – no more Dora strips to be found. But everyone hurts. Everyone bleeds.

There was his toothbrush. There was his Über-Manly Hair Gel. I saw his contact solution, his floss.

And, right next to a roll of toilet paper, his book. . .

Greek Mythology!

My husband, on the throne, studies Zeus.

The books we read!

I have a vivid memory of my sister as a teenager: she is reading The Exorcist in the bathroom. She won’t come out. Hours pass. She is so enthralled that she apparently plans on spending the day reading on the toilet.

When she appears, the demon is gone.

Who doesn’t like a good book?

Yes, I’m more interested in what you’re reading in the bathroom than what I’m reading. What are the books that you keep by the stash of tampons, the stick of deodorant?

Why am I less interested in my own reading material?

Because I’m not reading anything in there.

I usually don’t bring a book (though sometimes I do).

But here is a list of some of the writers who are not in my bathroom:

There is no Sherman Alexie, who makes me laugh and cry. (Can he ever be in my bathroom again?) Elena Ferrante, with her brutal intimacies between women, is nowhere to be found. Hope Jahren does not offer her scientific ministrations, and Patricia Lockwood fails to turn these bathroom absurdities into poetry.  Francesca Marciano, who might offer international escape or expatriate memories, is not next to my body soap. Why are there no snap-crackle-pop Lorrie Moore sentences behind the color-safe shampoo? Sometimes, I have wished for a little Jenny Offill—for a snippet of wise-cracking prose. Marilynne Robinson, in story/devotionals, is not in my mirrored cabinet. David Sedaris, with his too-close-for-comfort and myopically perfect observations, doesn’t rest atop any tank. Colson Whitehead fails to offer me his perfect sentences when I am staid, captive to a porcelain bowl.

I have no books in the loo.

There, I’m just a mom.

I am mostly counting inventory, checking for parabens.

Parabens, here. Parabens, there.

No writers around.

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