Tag Archives: stencil art

Update on That Asking Permission Thing

Photo by Les Jones

Remember that time I told you I was going to start being more assertive, take risks, and stop being afraid of things that interfere with achieving Greatness?

Yeah, well, here’s the thing. I’m a wimp.

There’s this pretty infamous abandoned gas station in our county that I pass by all the time. Back at the end of the last century, the owner, somehow suspecting he was about to be robbed, staked himself out overnight to ambush the burglars. When they broke in, he attacked them with a shotgun, killing one as they fled the scene.

I can’t remember exactly how it ended up but I’m pretty sure the owner was convicted of some type of murder, and the convenience store has been closed for years. It’s prominently placed at the top of a hill next to a crossroads, quite spooky, roped-off and overgrown. Every time I drive past I can’t help but think about misguided intentions, so when I needed a building for my stencil graffiti artist main character to vandalize, I knew exactly which one.

Well, last night was a dark night, and I was in the area. Before I wrote the scene in question I sat in the parking lot of the abandoned strip mall across the street and took copious notes. (Our county sounds like it’s all abandoned but I promise you it’s actually quite nice.) But the most important part happens in the dark, at night, when I’d never stopped for longer than the length of a red light.

So. Greatness. That was my goal.

I turned at the light and it was extremely dark. So dark I didn’t see the car until I was about to turn into the strip mall. My headlights bounced off the reflective lettering: County Sheriff. Lights completely dead. I didn’t even put on my turn signal, just kept right on going.

Which is so dumb because when I turned around in a subdivision and drove back toward the gas station, he was gone. And I was too chicken to turn into the parking lot and sit–very legally might I add–for five minutes trying to absorb sensory information. I wasn’t even planning on getting out of the car. What were they going to do, arrest me for imaginary application of graffiti?

So there you go. Too wimpy to not break the law for the sake of my art. If this story ever gets published, my main character will be too embarrassed to be seen with me in public.


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“Greatness” by Eddie Colla

This sassy girl (created by Eddie Colla) inspires me in so many ways. She embodies the attitude I am trying to channel into my WIP and inspires me to get off my butt and write it. She is my main character, Andy, a teenage girl who makes beautiful things with a spray can without asking anyone’s permission. Someday, I want to grow up to be just like her.


August 20, 2013 · 8:27 pm