Just another pic in the wall

One of the joys of being a visual communicator is that, as your passion and skills evolve, you start to see interesting, sometimes unusual patterns in everyday things. It's like cloudwatching on steroids, a hypersensitivity not only to what a thing looks like, but also what it reminds one of. This encompasses the obvious -- road signs, icons, floor plans, and the like -- along with the not-so-obvious -- the branches of trees, cracks in dried mud, a flock of birds. The world is rich in imagery and the roots of metaphor. At its most dramatic, the experience is not unlike a dream, or a series of "aha" moments. And yep -- it all goes down without hallucinogens.

It seems only natural and logical, then, that the universe of angles, lines, colors and textures would concentrate its magic in the sanctum sanctorum of deep thought -- the main floor bathroom of our house. The previous owners of our home (and, by extension, this bathroom) opted for sponge painting as part of the design. One evening, I found myself looking more closely at the various globs and blobs, and convinced myself I could see several weakly defined "faces" amid the chaos. On my next visit, I brought a pencil, and lightly traced the first image that jumped out at me. Then I traced another, and another. After Patty enquired why I had been in the bathroom for 45 minutes, I showed her what I had done. To my surprise, she too began seeing faces amid the paint, and she too began tracing (and doing so in a more professional way than I could ever hope for myself.)

It wasn't long before the kids saw the scribbles and begged to add their own. Other family members left their mark. Finally, friends and neighbors started to make sure a pencil was available before they would answer nature's call. In short order, our bathroom had become a mural of pencil marks, all based on the patterns each of us saw amid the paint. In a strange way, the act of creating graffiti promoted an odd (and oddly inspiring) sense of community.

All of this is, admittedly, kinda queer, and I'm not even sure why I'm dragging you into our bathroom. Perhaps I'm hoping that there are kindred spirits out there who are finding creative inspiration in the most unusual of places, and that there are other odd but inspiring stories you might share.


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