Author looks to the loo for inspiration

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The next time you visit the little boys’ or girls’ room, take a look around-like author Doug Rice, you may find inspiration scrawled on the stalls.

“It was finals week,” Rice said. “I was in the library for, like, six hours. I had to ‘swing by the office’ and make a ‘conference call.’ I went down to the basement floor of Oakland [University Kresge] Library in the computer room. I’m in the bathroom; I’m in the stall doing my thing, and, in front of me, I read, ‘Rick Moranis has enormous horse balls,’ which someone [had written] on the stall wall. ”

The vulgar comment got Rice thinking.

“I was in a slap-happy mood, and I just started laughing to myself in disbelief that someone would even think of something like that, let alone write it on the bathroom wall. Then it dawned on me that there could be so much weird, off-the-wall, perverted, funny stuff that people come up with and write on the bathroom stall walls.”

This chance encounter began Rice’s year-and-a-half tour of bathrooms stalls in universities and bars around Michigan. Rice took photographs of the most outrageous and clever bathroom graffiti and compiled them into his new book, From the Stall.

He hopes that readers will gain insight from his compilation, which brings thoughts from the most private places into public view.

“[It’s great if] you’re man, and you’re interested, maybe, in what’s in a women’s restroom . [or] if you’re a woman, and [you are] interested in what a guy writes,” Rice said. “It’s an insight into the opposite sex, but also, an interesting insight into that world in general-in what people come up with during that moment of relief, you might say.”

The website that accompanies the book,, features pictures like those from the book. Rice encouraged visitors to submit their own pictures from bathroom stalls to be posted.

Rice hopes that the website gains as much popularity as, a fast-growing website that displays selected postcards with secrets on them that people send in from around the world.

“I just recently heard of Postsecret,” Rice said. “Yeah, definitely, I hope that [From the Stall receives] a kind of cult following … There’s a gallery in the website, and I’ll keep updating it for people to comment on and display graffiti from all over the world.”

As well as updating his website, Rice is busy promoting From the Stall, which is available for purchase through the website. The book costs $14.99 plus shipping and handling.