and the closet at my parents’ house.*
Don’t worry, my parents aren’t the Dursleys. Nobody call CPS. Growing up, my parents let me decorate the walls of my bedroom, but only to a certain point, and once I reached oh, about thirteen, I wanted more. I’ve always loved words – the power of them, the way they make you feel – and I knew even from a young age that sometimes words are too big and unstable to stay locked up. They need to be free. They need to root and grow and climb the walls. Literally.
And being the sweet, respectful child I was, I let them. In my closet.
I wrote all kinds of quotes on the walls behind that sliding mirrored door. Shakespeare. Ralph Ellison. Whitney Houston. After a while I let a few friends in on the secret, and they wrote their favorite song lyrics, or their favorite bits of conversation. When we ran out of room we used white out (cough, gag) to paint the walls and start fresh. And when I needed to be surrounded by the feelings attached to all those words, I grabbed a pillow, and laid down on the floor, and stared up the walls to where our words reached the ceiling.
My parents never knew about this until I graduated and was packing to go to college. They weren’t exactly pleased at the time, but maybe they understood in their own way. After all, I’ve been gone a long time and they’ve never painted over it.
I have an office now. Slightly less secretive and maybe slightly less special because of it. But I’m still surrounded by words, most that change with my mood. Here are a couple of my long-lasting favorite quotes:
“And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.” Khaled Hosseini – The Kite Runner
“What would be the cost of not having an enemy? Who would you strike for retribution other than yourself?” Charles Frazier – Cold Mountain
And of course:
“For she had embodied the Great Perhaps – she had proved to me that it was worth it to leave behind my minor life for grander maybes, and now she was gone and with her my faith in perhaps.” John Green – Looking for Alaska
They’re not all this heavy, don’t worry. I don’t take myself that seriously.
Do you have a place you go for inspiration? What’s your favorite quote?
*There are actually A LOT of places I love in Nevada. Just thought I’d clarify that.