Firstly, there is the article itself. It could be reasonably argued that an arse is as fundamental to writing as the pen. A writer sits upon their arse in order to assume the writing position. Of course, one could write whilst standing up, perhaps leaning, but it is not a position that could be sustained over a lengthy period of time as can a firm resting on one’s arse. The arse must be comfortable in order to write. Much like the princess and her pea, if there were to be a foreign object in the vicinity of one’s arse’s seat, concentration would be shot and the writer’s output would suffer.
It would be interesting, and perhaps enlightening, to research whether the arse of a writer comes to resemble, over time, the shape of the seat it occupies. Does it widen to reach the edges of a padded office chair? Does it begin to form the grooves of a slatted wooden seat? Does it harden into the right-angles of a practical pine stool?
Attention must be paid to maintaining the well-being of the arse is much as to sentence structure, good grammar and keeping one’s PC virus-free. Without an arse, a writer is nothing.
Secondly, there is the use of the word ‘arse’ as an expressive and, to be honest, satisfying interjection. Within the day to day activities of a writer it can often be called upon in times of need. Whilst walking the dog or cleaning the toilet perfectly constructed sentences – descriptions, snippets of dialogue, crucial plot twists – appear like magic in the mind of a writer. They hurry home or tear off their rubber gloves to get to their PC or scrap of paper to write down these words of dazzling wit, power or rhythm. As they sit there (on, of course, their arse), hands poised to release those words from the confines of their genius brain, the mind goes blank. ‘Arse’, they say.
It is also vital in times of practical failures that make one look like, well, an arse. When a writer spends time, energy and, quite often, money on crafting a piece of fiction to submit to a competition, an agent or a publisher, forgetting to attach the document to the submission email requires a loud exclamation of ‘Arse!’ and a panic of apologetic, hopefully wittily wry, emails.
Finally, when that rejection email or letter comes in, a softer utterance of ‘arse’ falls from the writer’s lips, accompanied by a shrug, perhaps the blinking away of tears and the pulling of the mouth into a rueful half-smile. Then the actual arse is employed once again, either to sit at the desk and write more, edit some and cut much or to sink consolingly into a comfortable chair whilst the accompanying writer opens a book and loses themselves in the fruits of the labour of someone else’s arse.
By Diane Scott