Thursday, November 27, 2008

What are Your Essentials?

image I'm listening to John Irving's Until I Find You in the car, and one of things that fascinated me about Alice is that her father told her to wait until she was at least thirty to get a tattoo, that way she would know "the essentials" about herself, those things that will never change.

I got to thinking, and I was quite bothered by the fact that I can't think of anything I'd commit to for life. I feel like I'm always changing, as if that is the only constant I have.

If I weren't terrified of needles, what tattoos would I get? A stack of books? God, I'm boring. I believe in Belief and Faith and Openness and Understanding more than I believe in any one religion, so although I'm spiritual, I'm not sure I could commit to one way tattooed on my skin.

Perhaps I could list words that resonate with me, that inspire me, like Love, Compassion, Faith, Power, Belief, Duty, Destiny.

Perhaps I could tattoo the quote I live by:

May the Beauty We Love
Be What We Do
There Are Hundreds of Ways
To Kneel and Kiss the Ground.
What about you? What image or words would you be willing to commit to for life, on your skin? What would say who you are? What are your essentials?

PS: Susan Helene Gottfried's The Demo Tapes are now available!

43 bonus scribbles:

Anonymous,  11/27/2008 02:18:00 PM  

I get where you're coming from, and I love that someone else thinks that much about it. :) I agonized for a long time about the implications of the permanence, the concern about my self-image, the meaning of having your body altered, the feminist ramifications, etc., etc., etc.,

I have two tats, and I got the first on my 30th birthday, on my lower back. It's decorative and meant just to say "I'm not the uptight white girl I seem to be." The second I got last week and it's a design made up of the first names of my hubby and two kidlings, and is something I am definitely willing to commit to for life.

I will try to post pics sometime after this crazy-ass weekend.

Have fun at the movies tonight!!

Melanie Avila 11/27/2008 05:03:00 PM  

Spy, I have the same problem with tattoos. How do you decide, and I'm terrified of needles. I'm a pisces so for awhile I was messing around with a design based off the two fish. Balance is important to me and I think that idea could be worked into the image.

I like Aerin's idea of having your children, but of course I'd have to wait for that. You could so a scripty thing with your words running together, either around your wrist or in a spiral. That would be cool. :)

Robin 11/27/2008 06:06:00 PM  

I can only think of funny tattoos, and then I worry that I'd stop thinking they're funny, and have to put on that tattoo blurring stuff that they used to advertise on Sirius radio. It's literally called "Tattoo Be Gone". Does it work, or do you end up with a blob of color on your body? I think some sort of Oriental symbol of power, but I'm not Oriental, so that seems weird and pretentious.

Can you see why I don't have a tattoo?

It's Only Me 11/27/2008 08:14:00 PM  

I've been thinking about a tat for almost 10 years now. I was going to have "Breathe" tattooed on the inside of my arm, but then Lindsey Lohan had to go off and do it, and I didn't want to look like I was copying her.

I still may do it someday. Maybe before I turn 50.

Aimless Writer 11/27/2008 08:38:00 PM  

I always say when I finally get my book published I'll get a tattoo. I want a butterfly because they stand for rebirth.
J.A. Konrath got a sad face tat on his shoulder when he couldn't get published. Later after getting his book deal he had a happy face tat.

Karen Olson 11/27/2008 09:19:00 PM  

I never really thought about tattoos much until I started my research for my new tattoo shop mystery, THE MISSING INK. There's a great book about the history of women and tattoos called Bodies of Subversion that really delves into the reasons why women get tattoos and what sorts of tattoos they get. I used a lot of that in my book. I also found a great blog called Contrariwise: Literary Tattoos. Check it out!

Hi! I'm Grace 11/27/2008 10:11:00 PM  

I hate needles, but maybe if I could, I would have some chinese character.
Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Susan Helene Gottfried 11/27/2008 10:32:00 PM  

Ooh, you keep that up and I'll hand deliver you a freebie copy, woman! You're awesome! (Be sure to let me know what you think, good and bad, okay?)

As for tats... no clue. Maybe my avatar S.

I DO know, though, who'll do it for me. A guy named Amazinger. Okay, nicknamed Amazinger, but man, does it fit.

Edie 11/27/2008 11:32:00 PM  

That's easy to answer, because I would never get a tattoo. I don't like needles or pain and don't desire one.

Christina 11/28/2008 12:20:00 AM  

I'm not so sure what I'd get a tattoo of. I have some really good ideas though, from books I've written and fallen in love with. Still not sure though.

Sarah Laurenson 11/28/2008 01:24:00 AM  

I once thought I would get a tattoo. For some reason, I decided that if I wanted one for five years, I would want it for the rest of my life. I wanted it for four years. Never even got to the part about what would it be or where would it go, just waited to see if I would even get one.

Probably good that I didn't get one as I have very sensitive skin and I could see me having an allergic reaction to the ink and winding up with a big mess.

I also thought about getting one ear pierced and never did that either.

Both times, I'm sure it would be a dragon - tattoo and earing. I'm very centered on dragons.

Kath Calarco 11/28/2008 09:08:00 AM  

When I was in my early thirties, back when it wasn't vogue to have a tat, I considered it. As time went by and everyone started getting ink, I decided to not have one was unusual.

See, if you wait long enough your style is a hit! lol. But if I had gotten one, I considered a heart with wings or a heart split by a lightening bolt.

colbymarshall 11/28/2008 11:16:00 AM  

If I was going to get a tattoo (which I never will), I think it would be a butterfly of some sort. But, obviously I haven't put that much thought into it!

Zoe Winters 11/28/2008 01:22:00 PM  

I won't get a tattoo because I'm too paranoid about various things that can go wrong.

But if I DID get at tattoo I think I told you once before what I'd get. But I won't share it publicly haha!

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 01:47:00 PM  

Aerin, the permanence thing is exactly what freaks me out, LOL. The first one is a great message; the second one is SO special! That'd be awesome if you posted pics!

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 01:48:00 PM  

Melanie, I would love to get a tattoo, but I'm terrified of needles. I don't do pain well at all. But I'm having trouble coming up with an idea. Aerin's hubby and kidlings idea is awesome!

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 01:49:00 PM  

Hah! Robin, Tattoo Be Gone? Seriously? That's hilarious! You should see some of the tattoos out there. I crack up!

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 01:51:00 PM  

Only Me, I do wish to have one. I think I'm too chicken, but it would be cool. Breathe is an awesome one.

Angelina Jolie had a window tattooed on herself, because for a long time, she felt she was always behind windows looking out. I SO RELATE TO THAT!

If I did that, I'd make sure the window was open and there was plenty of room for me to step out.

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 01:53:00 PM  

Aimless, I had no idea! You're kidding? That is really cool. How do you know this stuff, LOL? You're one of those people who can suddenly pop up with the most amazing bit of trivia, I swear!

A butterfly sounds very symbolic!

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 02:04:00 PM  

Karen, I LOVE that website! Ohmigosh, I totally want a tattoo now. That website is wonderful! That website rocks!

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 02:10:00 PM  

Grace, I'm scared of needles. I think Chinese characters are gorgeous.

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 02:11:00 PM  

LOL, Susan, I will! :-) Your S would be perfect for a tattoo. Amazinger? That's a nickname I've never heard before! My imagination is just whirling for the how of how he got it. :-)

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 02:13:00 PM  

Edie, I don't like needles and pain, either, LOL. :-)

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 02:13:00 PM  

Christina, I get that. You should check out that site Karen recommended. It's awesome!

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 02:18:00 PM  

That cracks me up, Sarah! You were just one year short. Dragons are gorgeous, just gorgeous. I love dragons; I'm writing a story about a dragon now. :-)

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 02:19:00 PM  

Oh, Kath, that cracks me up! I'm exactly like that! Sometimes I want something, because it's me and not everyone else is doing it, but then suddenly everyone is doing it and I don't want it, simply because everyone else is doing it. I hate when that happens!

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 02:20:00 PM  

Colby, you're like Aimless! Butterflies are so pretty and symbolic. :-)

spyscribbler 11/28/2008 02:21:00 PM  

Zoe, I think I forgot! I remember it was something interesting, but you'll have to tell me again in chat, LOL. :-)

Erica Orloff 11/28/2008 04:54:00 PM  

I recently got one. It's a Tibetan word on the inside of my wrist so when I am praying, I see it. I'm not telling anyone what it means . . . it's just for me. I love it . . . the needle was easy. :-)


Merry Monteleone 11/28/2008 10:39:00 PM  

I have two.

The first I got when I was nineteen... the guy at the shop wasn't that particular about age, I think I was supposed to be twenty one... his name was Spider... seriously.

That one's on my stomach and it's a half moon - the moon is a special thing for me, and though I'm trying to be more of a sun person lately, it still holds a special place from that moment in my life - though I wish I hadn't opted for the stomach - three pregnancies and those are my only stretch marks - scar tissue doesn't stretch.

The second is a female mountain lion on my upper hip. She has green eyes. My last name means mountain lion in Italian, and my favorite aunt had green eyes... I got it for my twenty first birthday.

I got them young and I don't regret either of them... but then, I'm not much for regret - I kind of figure mistakes are part of the journey and everything has a purpose...

Rick 11/29/2008 01:26:00 AM  

I, of course, have a tattoo of a dragon.

LaDonna 11/29/2008 10:50:00 AM  

Spy, I've wanted one for a while now. But,not sure what it'd be yet. Maybe a spiritual truth, or a small butterfly, fairy of some kind.

My youngest got one in high school on her ankle, and it was the chinese symbols for longevity. My oldest wants one also, so it appears to be a genetic thing going on here. lol.

spyscribbler 11/29/2008 12:53:00 PM  

Aw, Erica, that's awesome. See, I'd like to find a symbol that means that much to me. If I did, then I might try getting one. If Glenn will hold my hand, LOL. :-)

spyscribbler 11/29/2008 12:54:00 PM  

Wow, Merry, I could have picked both of those, myself. I love the moon, and it has lots of meaning for me. And then lions have always been my most spiritual animal.

I like your philosophy on regret. :-)

spyscribbler 11/29/2008 12:55:00 PM  

Rick, you? A dragon? I never would have imagined. ;-)

spyscribbler 11/29/2008 12:55:00 PM  

I should ask, Rick, which dragon? :-)

spyscribbler 11/29/2008 12:57:00 PM  

LaDonna, I'd like a spiritual one, too. And I think Chinese symbols are beautiful. My best friend has a very pretty one on her ankle that's cool; it's Irish.

Realmcovet 11/30/2008 01:34:00 AM  

"There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

I like that. S'very much. You should totally go for it. :)

When I was 16, a friend of mine "indian inked" my best friend's name onto the inner side of my right ankle. Oddly enough, I still don't regret it, even though I haven't spoken to her in over 13 years.

If I were to get any "significant" ink done, I'd get the word "Snookms" tattooed onto my ring finger, in elvish script, in the shape of a ring. I'd also love love LOVE to get "love will tear us apart" in old english lettering in an arc on my torso. And then quite possibly a mural of a minotaur making love to a faerie on my back. A bit much, perhaps, but it's my dream. :D

Travis Erwin 11/30/2008 02:25:00 PM  

I have none now, but when I sell my first novel I plan to get a tattoo somehow related. Should be an interesting one if that novel happens to be Plundered Booty.

pjd 12/10/2008 01:10:00 AM  

I thought long and hard before getting my ink three years ago. I ended up selecting three Norse runes with meaning significant to me (my essentials). Small and unobtrusive were important to my wife, and my wife is important to me, so it's only a couple inches tall, on my calf. I've always secretly wanted a wolf, but we'll see. A dragon would be cool, but only because dragons are cool. I don't really think dragon fits my personal brand, though.

Sometimes I forget I have the tat on my calf, but when I see it it reminds me of the meanings, and that revitalizes me.

spyscribbler 12/10/2008 01:14:00 AM  

Realmcovet, that is so romantic, especially given the post you posted on Snookms that I just read!

Y'all are making me really want to get a tattoo. Weren't y'all scared?

spyscribbler 12/10/2008 01:14:00 AM  

Travis, that would be so cool! And I think The Plundered Booty sounds GREAT! I love the pirate thing.

spyscribbler 12/10/2008 01:15:00 AM  

pjd, Erica Orloff got a Tibetan symbol on her wrist (I believe) that she can see every time she prays.

That is just wonderful. Something to remind me of what's important to me.

Somedays, I just don't remember.