Graffiti and Gift-Wrapping

How was your weekend? Did you have unexpected/expected snow? Did you spend lots of time reading?

On Friday I had a very exciting conversation with my Mulholland editor. I’ve got a couple weeks’ worth of fine-tuning to do on The Stranger Inside, but it’s not due until right after the holidays, so I have time to think on it. It’s always great to work with an editor who has lots of interesting, story-expanding ideas about my work. I’d planned to sketch out my game plan–but then I got an unsettling text early Friday evening.

Two guys (unidentified by the witness) had spray-painted graffiti on the much-used north entrance of our church, in the still-dark hours of Friday morning. The entrance sports two large, blank, red doors. Perfect for vandalizing. But seriously, who does that? It wasn’t even particularly interesting or artful graffiti. Just someone’s four-letter name, or tag. It wasn’t even in a terribly prominent place where lots of people would see it, except the students in the apartments surrounding the parking lot and the church members. That’s not to say that it would’ve been better on the street entrance. But it does say a lot about people doing things in darkness, about cowardice, about disregard for others’ property and concerns.

Seeing it made me very sad. The very thought of it still makes me sad. It’s too cold to paint over it, and we tried to spray/scrape off as much of the graffiti as we could. Unfortunately it was cold outside, and the paint had dried.

Out damn spot!

A parishioner at work, spraying solvents and scraping.


We scrubbed as much as we could, but left the doors as they were when we finished so the folks attending mass this morning would see it. But it’s not good to let such things exist. Even if you’re not in a great neighborhood (and the church is not), it’s better to fight against entropy and vandalism than to give up. I’ve long been a believer in The Broken Windows Theory. Things only get worse.

Here’s the temporary solution. It’s my hope that we have a more permanent one soon.

Holiday plaid

Present doors!


The wrap is plaid, which is rather appropriate. This afternoon we had an evensong celebration for Saint Andrew’s Day, which was on November 30th. He’s the patron saint of Scotland (and of many other places as well). It was a wonderfully meditative way to end the week and prepare for the busyness to come.

Speaking of busy–my week will be full of editing and shopping madness. Yours? xx


7 thoughts on “Graffiti and Gift-Wrapping”

  1. Priscilla says:

    So, so, so very sorry that your church was vandalized. The gift wrapped doors look wonderful, a perfect solution for now.

    This week: I’ve got a few more Christmas gifts to make and wrap and a lot of Christmas carols to sing. Sometimes the dog chimes in, but usually he just sleeps through it!

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      Sounds like the perfect run-up to Christmas, Priscilla. Singing carols as one wraps and bakes, etc. is the best! (My dogs never sing. Except Scoutie, who has a full line of encouraging whimpers that mean THROW THE BALL!)

  2. Cindy Gunnin says:

    I’m so sorry about the church. I love that you came up with a creative way to obscure the damage. If painting is not an option in January, I would suggest brightly colored murals on butcher paper to continue the joy of the holiday season and deter more vandalism.

    My week includes a couple of expected snow falls (which we can totally skip, as I’ve seen snow once this winter and that’s all we need), returning the things we bought Black Friday and didn’t like, and Christmas baking on Friday! I’m very excited about the baking. It’s three girls, chocolate, wine and baked goods. That’s a perfect day, right?

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      THE perfect day! I hope you have a great time, hon. (LOVED the postcard btw–very inspiring, and a lovely surprise.)

      Terrific idea about the murals/butcher paper. It cannot stand as it is uncovered, that’s for sure.

  3. skyecaitlin says:

    Laura, I am so horrified and saddened about your Church and the graffiti~ what is happening in our country? I think it’s so sad. We did have snow: too much, butter cold temps, too, and rain/snow are heading in as well as an Arctic blast. I am working through Thursday ( online with academic tests).

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      I hope your work is going well and that you have something fun planned for the weekend, Skye!

      (And I don’t know what is happening. We don’t get to hear too much about the good stuff.)

      1. skyecaitlin says:

        It’ been a long week; we’ve had more snow, but all is good.

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