Ripples was an installation written in chalk on the sidewalk of the 200 block of Page Street in San Francisco for 120 days, one piece per day, from May to December of 1998. As the chalk slowly faded, the text seemed to slowly walk down the sidewalk, then disappear.

The text itself was gathered from conversations, letters, and journals over the previous four years, chosen for the “ripples” of thought or perspective they created.


1 – All of my life my father told me how whenever he got to feeling too big for his britches, his grandmother would say, “Whenever you want to know how important you are, go stick your finger in a bucket of water and see how big of a hole it leaves.” Something about the story bothered me for years, until finally it came to me and I said, “Yes, but watch the ripples.” 

10 – What’s the difference between seeing your life as making the same mistakes over and over and seeing it as a slowly climbing spiral? Hope. 

12 – Doubt is an old creature, crippled and frail, who asks you to lean on her so she can fall. 

13 – I am the kind of person who keeps the partner to a lost sock for years. 

14 – I finally gave in to my hope after I realized that if I tried to give up it would only keep dragging me behind it, face down in the dirt, anyway. I figured I might as well ride on top and pretend I had something to do with it. 

15 – Ride a wheel, not a square. 

21 – Thomas asked Susan, “Is that a futon in your car or are you just happy to see me?” 

23 – I have turned into a theater with one man on stage: the janitor. 

24 – Maybe a lot of times we fall for people so that we can try to make them into what we want to be. Like cleaning someone else’s house, it’s easier. 

26 – People always say they feel like they lost something, and I always feel like I picked something up, like something’s stuck on the bottom of my shoe. Maybe they dropped it. 

28 – Part of me knows I’m god’s gift to mankind, and sometimes I forget that everyone else is too. – Dylan 

31 – I wish this state of mind were a hotel, so I could check out. 

35 – I keep getting all worked up over nothing and then later realizing it was something. 

45 – You know it’s not working when both people give all they can and neither one gets anything out of it. – Dave M. 

47 – I feel like they all want forty cents, and I’ve got a dollar. 

48 – Dan said, “But everyone wants a dollar.” 

52 – A closed door only leads to other closed doors. 

54 – Crutches can grow bigger and bigger until you hit yourself over the head with them every step you take. 
55 – I want to do something stupid, really stupid. Unfortunately, I’ve done it all before. I’m forced to be smart. 

57 – There are never any rules as to what I will or will not do, only rules as to why. 

59 – Unfortunately, I know the difference between working all the time and getting something done. 

60 – I wish Sunday was just Sunday again and not my day off. – Cindy 

62 – Stone looks to stone
To be set free
Stone stands on stone
Trying to fly
Stones trying to fly
Are making mountains
Stones forgetting stone
Are turning into dark birds,

64 – When he was 5, my nephew Sam told me, “The sun was like the moon before it caught on fire.” 

66 – We were listening to Sinead O’Connor and Tony said, “I don’t want anything I haven’t got, unless you’ve got something better.” 

70 – Be cool and everything will be cool. – James 

71 – Be cool and everything will be everything. – Lisa G. 

72 – Let no small thing make you small. 

73 – Some people are so paranoid, they think the trees are throwing leaves at them in the fall. 

74 – He hears voices in his heads. – Cindy 

76 – He left his brain in his other pants. – Lisa N. 

78 – I needed someone stain and sable. – Lisa N. 

79 – Words are strange, like putting corners on a circle. 

82 – Well, everyone has a voice. – Paris, when I said I couldn’t sing 

86 – Do doesn’t done like did would have before. 

87 – I am trapped without porpoise in a world of sax and violins. 

88 – When could you sleep?
If I could curl up
in the hollow
of the moon.
If maybe someday

89 – When I feel clear, everywhere I look, things are wide, important. Everyone I meet, I listen to carefully, as though we were spies and they were handing important messages to me covertly, maybe in the mouth of a fish. 

102 – Sometimes I think I am the joke of the world, without even the integrity of a riddle. 

106 – Dogs are wolves with no self-respect. – Amy 

113 – I am destined to erase all my hatreds by becoming everything I ever despised or loving someone who is that thing. 

119 – The best way to prepare for the worst is to hope for the best.