I used to write on walls. The first time I wrote on one was when I was in 3rd grade, or was it 5th? We were supposed to move to Corpus Christi, Tx. Then Uvalde. Then Hereford. There was one time when all things looked favorable and we would move once and for all. At least that’s what I gathered from all the eavesdropping on my parents’ conversations when it seemed I preferred to take an armload of Barbies from one room to another. I was the weird kid who wanted to experience being the new kid at a new school. To leave my mark on our house, I took a ballpoint pen and scrawled The Almaraz Family on the closet wall in my best, largest cursive handwriting.
That was one of the worst things I did. I was the poster child for an obedient, responsible first-born. In college, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and scrawl snippets of inspiration, lines of poetry wanting to be born, titles for books that have yet to be written, little philosophical tidbits my brain processed from class discussions, quotes from English class readings. I taped sheets of notebook paper along the wall next to my desk so it was ready for me to fill throughout the semester. Writing on dorm walls? Not allowed. A journal and pen lived on the floor next to my bed, but I liked the idea of being a renegade and writing on walls.
When I moved into my own classroom, word walls were one of my favorite features. As I moved from one campus to another, I landed one that allowed painting walls, within reason. I cheered up my classroom and painted a quote here and there. I had plenty of decorative letters that spelled out DREAM, READ, BELIEVE, and READ EVERY DAY. Besides books, this is another way I’ve left my mark and wrapped myself in the comforting arms of words.