Artist Statement:

I am Ryan Hill and a senior at Illinois State University. I major in English with a focus on TESOL. My piece entitled "The Perfect Bathroom" is a reflection of sorts. I live in the Watterson dormitory and have to share a bathroom with 15-20 other guys. This can be invasive at times, which is what inspired me to write this piece. I can imagine something like a "perfect bathroom," but will acknowledge that this something will never happen, because in the end the world doesn't revolve around me, and bathrooms are constantly shared. There is never a bathroom for one specific person. A thing about my writing is that I very much like to capture mundane, everday things but put them in a warped style. For me, the mundane is something very special, and there is always weirdness and hidden moments that creep out of the mundane. This is all I have to say, and, oh yeah, I read a lot of Haruki Murakami. I am grateful my piece has been selected. So, in summary, the perfect bathroom=imagined, imagined=a moment to come from something mundane=my story "The Perfect Bathroom," which equals influence from Haruki Murakami's stories. OK, I've said too much already...

The Perfect Bathroom

Ryan Hill


I'd like to take note of; the perfect bathroom scene. The perfect toilet, shiny, white, and perforated with all of the cleanliness of a five star hotel. The bathoom would have red carpet, elaborate granite countertops and various sinks, water flowing out of them like water seen in Niagara falls. The smell of the bathroom would be of purity. In fact upon entering the bathroom, I would believe I am entering the room of Paradise right after I have just died. The bathroom is for no one except me. I will be the first bathroom user, and the ONLY bathroom user. I will come to this perfect bathroom and inhabit it. And, Oh yeah, the bathroom has mirrors all around me, and speakers are on the wall. The mirrors are there so I can see the smile on my face when I am using the bathroom, the satisfaction that this bathroom has been built just for me, to be used by me and lived in by me. And not to mention, the speakers would play the work of Japanese classical composer Umebayashi Shigeru. Specifically the song "Yumeji's theme" would be playing from the "In the Mood for Love" soundtrack. Ah yes, that song, when I hear it I think of the scent of perfume on a girl's dress and cigarette smoke escaping a window to float into the night sky. I think of that Hong Kong relationship amongst two characters that are married, that happen to live in the same apartment, their rooms being directly across from one another. And Oh, I think of the perfume. Then, I become one with the toilet seat and I take a dive and am now imagining myself in a deep pool hall, I again being the only one in the pool. And I can fully contemplate the perfect clarity and defining purity of chlorinated water. But it shouldn't be chlorine, for my pool would have Ice Mountain inside of it. Yes, I am swimming in Ice Mountain. This is where I am, in a pool hall, in the movie "In the Mood for Love," and in the most perfect bathroom that has ever been imagined. I look in the mirror and see myself everywhere, I smile, and then I flush.

When I flush, all of the water in the pool hall flows away, the speakers stop playing Umebayashi Shigeru, the mirrors vanish, the granite sinks are no longer, and the shiny white toilet no longer exists. I realize I am now in a crowded and suffocating dormitory bathroom shared by ten others. I have just shat in a toilet that has been used billions of times, a toilet and a bathroom reflecting decades of use, and then I realize something; I could never have the perfect bathroom even if I tried, the world does not revolve around me, but revolves around the others. I am in a world where countless toilets are used and where countless lives are using them. I am in the a world, where the perfect bathroom is non existant.

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790