Friday, October 12, 2012

Marking my commitment

Saturday I got a tattoo.

Maybe that sentence doesn't blow you away and make your jaw drop.  However for those that know me in real life, your jaw probably just dropped.  When you mix my ultimate "goody-two-shoes" -ness with the questionable nature per society of tattoos, you would expect to find oil and water.  But I proved that theory wrong.  Answering a few questions is in order before we continue.

1.  Is it real?
2.  Is it permanent?
3.  Did it hurt?
No, but I already knew I could have a kid without an epidural.  I expected a tattoo to hurt less than my almost 9 pound kid.  I was right about that.  I will say that is was uncomfortable almost to the point of hurting around the curves of the Hebrew letter "P"
4. What does it mean?
It is the word "story" in Hebrew.  You read it from right to left.  It is pronounced "See-Poor" with the "oo" sounding like it does in cool or pool.  (If you want more detailed information than that, ask me in the comments and I'll answer.)
5.  Why did you get that?
It is my commitment to myself and to God to be the story teller and story keeper that he has made me to be.

Those are the questions I have gotten and they have pretty much all been in that order.  And just in case there are any parents out there worrying that I as a teacher and youth leader are corrupting children by getting one, I have told them all to wait until they are 25 when their brain stops changing.  Should they decide to do it before that, then save up their money.  Because when they are 30, they will want to change it.  The person I am at 32 is not the person I was at 18.

Now with the formalities out of the way, I can get to the what I have learned in this first week.

There is more than once I have looked down at my tattoo and thought, "Live a better story."  So I fixed breakfast for myself instead of grabbing a Pop-Tart.  I fixed myself lunch instead of grabbing a Hot Pocket or Lean Pocket.  I have eaten English muffins, eggs, cheese, rice, crackers, and Greek style yogurt.  I think those are better food choices.  Thanks for the inspiration Julie and Judy!  If I can't live a better story, how will I ever be able write one?

As I was driving to the high school football field to sell tickets for the middle school game played there, I saw buildings along the way and thought of how I would describe them in a story.  That may not sound like much, but it is pretty huge.  I haven't done that in years and observations like that are vitally important for a writer.

Besides those buildings, I have been paying attention to how I am feeling and writing it down.  That is where Wednesday's post came from.  Paying attention to my feelings and fleshing them out into words is another vital tool for a writer.  How can we explore a characters feelings if we don't explore our own?

I have been complimented on my writing by a few people that I REALLY respect this week.  I didn't expect to get the compliments.  They just came out of the blue and was exactly the affirmation I needed to keep pushing this week.  It is so easy to get down on myself and my talents.  It is so easy to believe that there is nothing special about my ability.  Then I hear these people I respect tell me that they couldn't do what I do with words.  Wow!  That is encouraging.  And it is truth I needed to hear.

I have been reading more and watching TV less.  Not just this week, but for the past few weeks.  This week when I thought I really wanted to watch TV, I looked down and I was like, "No.  I want a good story."  So among other things I learned how to check out books from my local library to my Kindle.  And I searched for a couple memoirs to read because I think that is closer to the style God is calling me to write.  So I'm actually doing research with a future book idea in mind.

These may not sound like huge things to you.  However to a person who has been struggling to put words on paper and believe it is God's plan, these are continual steps in the right direction.  And continuous progress forward is the only way I will become who God is calling me to be.

Who is God calling you to be?  How are you getting there?

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