The Art of Polishing Turds

The Art of Polishing Turds

“A bear shits in the woods,” he said.

“I’ve heard that,” Ike said.

“But it doens’t shit in a litter box.”

“No,” Ike said.

“You know what shits in a litter box?” he asked.

“A cat,” Ike said. “Cats.”


Ike looked around for any signs of cats but saw no evidence.

“You fancy yourself a writer?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Ike said.

“What do you do?”

“I write.”

“Well, a bear that shits in the woods doesn’t question whether or not it’s a cat shitting in a litter box,” he said.

“Then I’m a writer?” Ike asked.

“Why the hell not?”

“Cause the words I write sometimes feel like turds dropped in a litter box. Turds that get all sandy and dry and stale, then scooped into the trash.”

“I’ve tossed out my weight in turd words a million times over. My garbage bin runneth over with wasted words and ideas” he said. “It’s just the way it is.”

Ike shrugged in resignation.

“What’s wrong, son? You should be honored to be an artist.”

“I shit,” Ike said. “Doesn’t matter if it’s more primal – more authentic – like a bear in the woods or more couth like a kitty in a litter box. Either way it’s just shitting. Nothing to be proud of. Everybody – everything – does it.”

“But it’s a privilege to take dumps that anybody other you take any interest in,” he said. “Not everyone’s that sophisticated. Not everyone has that kind of voice. Only a real artist’s output is that sublime.”

“It don’t smell sublime.”

“Some day it will,” he said. “Mind over matter, son.”

“Then art is mostly about polishing turds?” Ike asked. “You’ve heard that one, I suppose? You’ve heard that expression?”

“Yes,” he said. “Put quite crudely, that is your craft.”

“The art of polishing turds?” Ike asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“You remind me of Socrates,”Ike said.

“Very well,” he said. “Now where’s the hemlock?”

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