Literature for the Latrine

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Freedom .


Sometimes it’s best that people not try to make conversation. This is one of those times and Carolyn’s one of those people.

She’s trying to break the ice at a social by asking what different books, magazines, and newspapers we keep in our bathrooms as “reading material.” And silly me, I just bought a $40 cane magazine rack for $10 at Olde Time Pottery so I could have a pretty way to store and display my latrine literature.

I started keeping magazines in the primary bathroom several years ago when my colleagues—Audrea, Emily, Susan, and Lynda from the Acquisition Center of Excellence—were so enamored of the FlyLady’s techniques for getting rid of clutter. I still get a kick out of FlyLady’s website, partially because the FlyLady really does resemble my former High Priestess in her fairy costume and the harried “Sidetracked Home Executive” looks an awful lot like Silver Ravenwolf.

Somewhere around then, I read a time management technique that suggested keeping your favorite not-yet-read magazines close to the toilet because you could read short articles and make the most of your every minute. Their words, not mine, but it seemed like a reasonable idea. Though I still have some unread magazines from 2002….

I learned a long time ago that the kids were less likely to disturb me in the bathroom or in the bathtub, so the bathtub especially became the spot to read one single chapter at a time of whatever novel I couldn’t otherwise find time to read.

But Carolyn wants to know what literature I keep next to the toilet. Is it a book of humor? The newspaper? What?

Well, um, okay. Magazines. Only magazines.

Gothic Beauty magazine, featuring Rose Mortem attire, Love and the Crow, new music, and fantasy designs for a summer of eternal love, all scrawled across a girl with blue-black hair (I recognize the hue) and a black vinyl corset and black latex gloves. Her ears are triple-pierced, which mine used to be until I let them grow up because everyone else was getting theirs triple-pierced a decade later. Bah-humbug!

Scientific American, special edition. The cover has a cool mask that might be a pig or a…well, no, it’s a pig. Hmmmm. Not sure which article I bought it for. Could have been the one on the Ice Man mummy or the archeology of ancient Sumer.

Flying By Night novel

New Witch magazine, which bills itself as “Not your mother’s broomstick.” Two copies. One cover has a life-size face photo of Phyllis Curott, whom I met in Central Park a couple of years ago with Maggie Shayne the time we took the bicycle taxi and later hung out at the Waldorf Towers’ Starlight Roof black tie party that Harlequin threw. I always enjoy Phyllis’ comments in a small online forum I’m a part of. But I didn’t buy it for Phyllis. I think the headline about “Conjuring Johnny Depp” might be a clue

Renaissance magazine. Three copies. Cool swords, obscure history, Medieval attire, how to make chainmail, music reviews of the Medieval Babes, Ren Faire listings, what to do if you accidentally inhale belladonna oil….yeah, I love these magazines.

More magazine. Absolutely my favorite mainstream magazine. The whole idea behind this magazine is how much fun you’re going to have once you turn 40 and how little crap you’re going to put up with. A fun, informative, joyful magazine that will not find its way to the office restroom or to the local hospital waiting room because I wouldn’t dream of throwing these out or giving them away. Very different from the gotta-please-your-man crap that’s peddled in Cosmo and periodicals for the 20-something.

Sage Woman magazine. Two copies. A spiritual magazine dedicated to “Celebrating the Goddess in Every Woman.” Read mostly for the reviews, and I’m partial to SageWoman because of the grand review they gave “A Reverence for Trees,” when it first came out in paperback.

Circle Magazine. The Nature Spirituality Quarterly. This particular issue is on Gods, and the one drawn on the cover is Celtic and cute with long blond hair and a…cape?

Light of Consciousness magazine. It’s a journal of spiritual awakening, with this issue focused on spiritual preparation for Earth changes, compassion and wisdom, and extended mind research. I think my favorite part is the ad for Namaste (“The spirit in me sees the spirit in you”) wedding bands, though if I ever marry again, I think I’ll opt for a Celtic tattoo around my ring finger.

Atlantis Rising magazine. Just fun articles on ancient mysteries, geology, the Great Pyramid, biology, and “strange secrets of Nashville.” This one was part of my research for a novel I won’t get to write until next year because I’m so overbooked.

Frederick’s of Hollywood. Okay, technically, it’s a catalog. Corsets are the trend this season, apparently. I’ll keep that in mind, along with the fantasy that one day I’m going to wear only bras and panties that match.

Carolyn, of course, is sorry she asked at all. I lost her at Scientific American.


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