If only [what hangs on] these walls could talk

And sometimes they do — use what you hear as a guide for the new year

Bex Hall

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The act of what I call “keeping a wall” began in 1974. The bed in my room was underneath the finished stairs, so I had this private nook where I would sleep, read, and write. One day I made an unintentional mark on the wall with a pencil and no matter how hard I rubbed, it wouldn’t erase.

After many days, the allure of transforming the errant mark into something of beauty overwhelmed my fear of punishment. This time, the pencil on the wall was deliberate.

The mark bloomed into a flower; the stem sprouted some leaves, and by the time I stopped, an entire garden had sprung up along the length of the mattress, which was now officially a flower bed.

Every day I added more. Word art, scribbles, quotes. The way the graphite interacted with the chalkiness of the flat paint and the contrast of dark grey lead on a soft pastel yellow background became an obsession.

Eventually the work became too big to hide, and I confessed to a grandmother who already knew what I was doing and with her blessing, I continued with giddy freedom. Over a few years, the nuggets of art and words I could not contain in my head covered the walls as high as I could reach.

I surrounded myself with hand drawn creations of all that mattered. Each one a piece to the puzzle of my life and how I did, or didn’t, fit. Every picture or message a reflection of who I was and who I wanted to be. The space expressed positive energy and became my sanctuary.

Over the years, every place I’ve lived, I’ve kept some version of the original wall. Spaces filled with eclectic ephemera. To the casual observer, the collection may appear as meaningless chaos, but that would be far from the truth. Every item I have placed there with purpose. Every thing has a story.

My current wall has an OBX (Outer Banks, NC) license plate, and it’s a reminder of a vacation we almost didn’t take in 2002. The day before departure, my doctor called and said I may…

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Bex Hall

Bex is an artist who writes and a writer who arts. Current WIP: memoir about cheating death, 2nd chances & the power of kindness. Blogs at bexhall.com.