A description of Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oaks:
On the walls behind the writer’s desk, the day-by-day outline of ”A Fable” is famously hand-lettered by Faulkner on the wall….After her husband had finished writing ”A Fable,” Estelle Faulkner, according to legend, rashly ordered the wall repainted, over the outline. Using photographs as a guide, the outraged writer redid it and afterward, shellacked the wall, for the sake of permanence and posterity.
Doesn’t that story remind you of a mom who refuses to paint over the pencil markings on the wall tracking her childrens’ height over the years?
Recently I’ve had the urge to write on the walls.** But that’s the bitch about renting: you want to get your deposit back.
The Next Best Thing? Whiteboards. I started keeping a whiteboard above my desk to keep track of projects, submissions, and to-do lists. Then I got the idea to keep a dry-erase marker in the bathroom by the mirror, for those in-the-shower inspirations (I tend to have a lot of those.)
I was in there today, reading Chris Ware’s ACME NOVELTY collection, and it occured to me that writing on the wall might be the most primitive and accessible art-form, starting with the caveman in Ware’s “Our History of Art,” and ending, perhaps, with Rocket Sam, who, in an awesome gag strip, flies a spaceship all the way across the galaxy just to leave vulgar graffiti on a cave wall in another planet.
It’s not necessarily the desire to be heard, it’s the desire to be seen. And some institutions pick up on that and exploit it. At the Google headquarters, they have dozens of communal whiteboards, where employees can swap ideas and leave graffiti.
Whenever we do buy a house, I’m going to leave a nice section on the wall in my office to scribble. Maybe put up a couple of whiteboards in the foyer.
* * Before you start reading this, you might want to go listen to or watch some TV On The Radio. My sentences are beating to their drums.