Check out my book review of the The Death of Bees on Burlesque Press!
# of pages written: 10
# of literary mags submitted to: 3
I have a magical tattoo. It’s temporary, or so I thought. I pasted it on the inside of my arm last Monday while at a bar, using a piece of ice from my vodka cocktail to wet the paper backing. The tattoo came out perfectly – no peeling or smearing – and it actually looks pretty cool. I picked it up from the University of British Columbia table at the AWP writers’ conference, so it says “WRITE” in Old English letters in the center of a flaming heart with wings.
That was over a week ago. I’ve been taking daily showers, and yet the tattoo still looks as fresh as it did the day I put it on. Magic.
I was admiring my fake tattoo the other day while taking a run in the sunshine down by the James River. That’s right, I’ve started running again. I know you’re skeptical. I am, too. I’m always thinking I should get into running for various reasons. (It’s free. It’s good for my heart. Other people seem to like it.) So I’ll say I’m going to get into the routine of running, and I do it a few times, but then I remember I hate running, so I stop, and I don’t do it again for a long time until, for some reason or other, I start thinking I should give it another try.
I’m at the beginning of that cycle right now. I went for a two-mile run on Friday, and then another two-mile run over the weekend. I have every intention of keeping this up, going running once or twice a week, and maybe getting up to three miles eventually. But please don’t hold me to that, because if I know myself, this running phase is totally temporary.
Just like all the times I’ve tried to get into the routine of meditating. Or waking up at five a.m. to write before work. Or writing down every thing I eat so I can see what foods make me feel gross. I have good intentions about all of these activities, but I can never seem to stick with them.
* * *
I don’t want to say that I’m bad at commitment, but maybe I am. After all, I’ve never kept a full-time job or a romantic relationship for longer than two years. I don’t want to buy a house (like all my friends are doing) or commit to an expensive pair of leather boots, and even though I always wanted a tattoo, I could never figure out what design I would want on my body for the rest of my life.
When I was twenty-five, I really wanted to get a tattoo, but since I couldn’t decide on what to get, I had my eyebrow pierced instead. It was great. Despite the fact that I was made to cover it with a band-aid at work, and that it was constantly getting infected, I loved my eyebrow piercing. Plus, I knew that when I got tired of it, I could take it out and the hole would close up, and my face would go back to normal.
Two years later (that infamous two-year mark), I was in a guest house in Mexico when the cleaning woman knocked on the door. “Uno momento, por favor!” I yelled. I was naked. I ran for a towel, wrapped it around myself, and was running to tell her to come back later when she opened the door. Into my face. The edge of the heavy, wooden door smacked right into my eyebrow piercing, which immediately started gushing blood.
The cleaning woman was frightened and started apologizing and frantically waving her hands. “Es bueno,” I told her over and over.
It stopped bleeding eventually, but later that day I decided I was done with my eyebrow piercing and slipped out the silver bar.
The hole closed up quickly, but now, four years later, I still have a scar – a vertical indentation through my right eyebrow. Sometimes the things we think are temporary end up leaving a mark.
I quit my full-time job this past June. I thought I would take a year off to work on my writing, and then, when the year was over, I would reluctantly go back to teaching high school math. I thought what I was doing was temporary.
But as this year has gone on, everything that’s happened to me has started to leave a mark, and I realize that writing is the one thing I’ve been able to commit to all of my life. I’ve always written, both for others and for my own amusement. Heck, I’m on Day # 254 of my blog. This is not a phase. And this life I’m living now doesn’t have to be temporary.
The more I look down at my magical tattoo that refuses to wash away, the more I hear it speaking to me. “Write, Eva,” it says with it’s flying, flaming heart. “WRITE.”
When this year is over, I’m not going to look for another teaching job. I’ve picked up some flexible, low-commitment, part-time jobs that pay enough to allow me to keep doing what I’m doing now. I’m going to stick with writing, something that has always been permanent in my life.