In July 2003, I got my first tattoo.
I was 16 years old, worried more about school than anything else and I wanted to “rebel” safely. My stepfather’s brother (step-uncle, I guess?) has a tattoo shop* so he did it in just under an hour. There wasn’t any hesitation, I knew straight away that I wanted a wolf on the back of my shoulder. I picked out a friendly looking wolf from a big book of flash art on the shop’s coffee table. The only alterations I requested was for it to be coloured to match a character named Salvaged Eternity I had created for a play-by-post roleplaying game. The wolf had brown, white and black fur with bright green eyes which I thought looked far better than the black and white wolf with red eyes in the book.
Due to my age my mother came with me to sign the parental consent form. True to her style she didn’t protest my getting a tattoo and actually got her first one a week before. A mother dragon clutching two eggs with name and my little brothers on them. I don’t think she stayed the whole time I got mine, I may have asked her to go. This would start a trend of always getting tattoos alone. I won’t lie, it hurt like hell. I remember my step-uncle having a heavy hand, this is now compared to the three other tattoo artists I’ve gotten inked by since then. Whether this is because of my age I can’t say. I do know I almost “whited out” about halfway through. Apparently this is the precursor to fainting, but all I needed was a very cold hand on the back of my neck and time to breathe.
From back of tub: Melvin, El Hefe, Smelly and Fat Mike
NOFX – Hepatitis Bathtub & Other Stories (goodreads)
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press (April 12 2016)
Amazon.ca | Amazon.com
In April 2016 when this book first came out in Canada I knew the name NOFX, but I knew nothing about them. I didn’t even know who was who on the book cover. NOFX were in the same realm as Rancid, Bad Religion and Misfits, bands lots of people talk about so I know OF them, but I couldn’t name any of their songs*. I trusted the people tweeting about it, who said it was, to use just a few words: amazing, crude, disturbing, disgusting, eye-opening and wonderfully vile. Those are things I like in my books! So I put it on hold at the local library** and thought OK, I’ll learn about them this way. I also turned to Spotify to see what this over 30 year old band was all about musically. Spotify has a fantastic playlist out called “This is NOFX,” I highly recommend it.
Word of advice: Some bands should not be listened to chronologically. Sometimes you should start with the really popular songs and then work backwards. They are usually popular for a reason. I didn’t like their super early stuff at first.
Before I get into the meat of the review I will tell you two things upfront:
1. The book is all those things mentioned previously and then some.
2. I returned the library copy and now I own both the book and the audiobook (and most of their albums…) That should tell you right away that I enjoyed it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about writing recently. Possibly it’s because of NaNaWriMo, maybe because my coworkers have been asking how my novel has been coming along. They’re excited about it. I’m too ashamed to tell them that I haven’t looked at it in 3 months, even though I think about the main character, Sydney, every time I listen to a punk song. So, I asked myself, “I love this character, why am I not writing her story?”
More than that, there’s something about the process that has made writing difficult lately. The act of showing my thoughts to the world and what may come back to me isn’t that frightening. I don’t usually start out to open a dialogue between myself and the reader. I write just to get the words out of my head. At least once a day I compose an essay style piece in my brain around a topic that I’ve been mulling over. It’s one way I process things I’m currently obsessing over and if they have substance I want to share them. They very rarely, if ever, make it down on paper. Why?
I’ve determined it’s a mix of confidence and feeling like I shouldn’t have an opinion on certain topics (music & improv are the big ones). I still need to get the words out, but there’s actual fear holding me back from publishing it. After all, don’t you need experience to write about stuff? I read that on the internet somewhere. I mean, I’m only taking improv classes, what do I know? I’ve only listened to punk music for a couple years. Apparently two years ago today I talked about my first punk mixtape on this blog. Sure, when I find a band I like I try to jam 10+ years worth of being a fan into two months, but I still didn’t know them before.
When I type this out it’s so silly sounding, but it’s exactly the way I think!
It’s not just essays. These feelings also exist in my fiction. Continue reading