Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I know, I'm supposed to be posting my thoughts on Knitting (the novel, not the craft) and I will, but not today.

For some years now I've had a mild preference for a particular restroom stall in my building. It began when some graffiti appeared: "
Few of us are not in some way infirm, or even diseased; and our very infirmities help us unexpectedly. --William James"

OK, that's just some awesome graffiti. (And, yes, it's quite obvious to those of us in the building whose class she was taking at the time. Not mine.)

Then there was more. I tried to write them all down once, but I know I didn't get them all. There was "it's a wonder I can think @ all," which I quite liked, and "education is what remains when what was learned has be
en forgotten," which I believe was attributed to Twain on the stall wall, though google suggests maybe Einstein. There was also, "'College is an organized waste of time'--my dad," which amused me. There was a Leonard Cohen quotation on the door: "there is a crack, a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in" (attributed properly). There was, I think, something attributed to Will Durant. And, most recently, there was a line that seemed Dirty Harry-esque to me, but turns out to be from A Clockwork Orange: "what's it going to be then, eh?"

Well, you know where this is going. Over spring break the restroom was repainted, and the graffiti wiped out. I was sad about this, having neglected to write them all down.

But today, in sharpie, all caps:



  1. you know the one I mean, right, Heather? I really miss the old graffiti.

  2. There's something really poignant about this tale of the nice coat of paint over the scribbled wisdom. I remember once walking around VCU campus with a young, book-loving Connor, and he noticed writing on buildings for the first time. He said "Mom--look how beautiful! There are letters everywhere!" I have never looked at graffiti the same since.

  3. of course I do! It rocked. I took lots of pictures of graffiti abroad too, actually. I think it's fabulous.

    I wasn't responsible for any of that, but I might just have to help the new one get started... we'll see... That's great that you wrote some of it down, though -- could make an awesome piece of CNF...