Friday, October 14, 2011

Where Will The Flowers Go?

This week we asked you to write a piece – fiction or creative non-fiction – in which a tattoo figures prominently.
We wanted you to explore the many facets of tattoos: why someone would get them, what the meaning was, what the tattoo says about them. Word limit was 300

I stood in line at the grocery store and tried not to stare at the young woman in line ahead of me. Her blonde hair was dyed black and red at the tips, and was gelled up into a dangerous-looking row of mohawk spikes. A pack of cigarattes peeped out of the black leather bra, which was also peeping out. She was wearing "zombie leggings" and black leather biker boots.

Her groceries inched down the conveyor belt. Cigarettes. Cheez-whiz. Petron Silver. Tortilla chips. A bag of M&Ms. And an incongruous bouquet of pink roses.

She pulled her wallet from her back pocket, showing a flash of white wrist, with a tattoo of a rosebud on it. It was a pink rosebud, angel wings on each side, and the words, "Momma's Angel". As she reached out to hand the checker her club card, I saw the tattoo on her ring finger. It looked like a prison tat. A skull and cross-bones.

She took the divider bar from the slot and plopped it down behind her groceries and glanced back at me. She smiled a flashing, brilliant white smile that reached up to illuminate her bright blue eyes. I smiled back.

Thanks for the comments! I tried switching the last two paragraphs and it does seem better. Thank you!
(I am working on polishing my descriptive voice regarding people. I want to be better at showing my reader a true depiction of characters, in a way that will give answers and still inspire questions. This is one of my attempts.)

Always, feel free to comment! Trish in AZ


  1. I really like your description. I especially like the seeming contrast between this girl's appearance and her "brilliant white smile." I often find myself surprised by people and am constantly reminded that there is often so much more to them than we think.

  2. I liked the descriptions, the contrast between what she wore and her eyes/smile.

    I think it ended a little abruptly, tho.

  3. I think you did a great job with the description, especially the contrast between the outer and the (possible) inner selves.

    I agree with Cheryl about the ending. Just a thought, but you might be able to play around with the second two paragraphs: flip them, so that the reader sees the tattoos, including the prison one, and ends with seeing her smile and smiling back. It might make the ending a little less abrupt.

  4. I liked that her brilliant smile demonstrated there was more to her that what she wears on the outside. I also thought the ending might need a little tweaking. Angela's idea of flipping some of what you already have written would work. :>

  5. I like her as a character. The compelling, open smile amidst all the noise of her "uniform."

    The rosebud/angel wings v. the skull ink.

    I'd have been intimidated, too--until she smiled.

  6. I love all of the contrasts and details. There's so much to be said about people's grocery items, and smiles!

  7. I am a huge fan of attempting to understand who people are by what they put on the belt in the check-out line, so I love that you wrote this!

    I also like all your details.

    I wonder, would your character be more interesting if she wasn't made so obviously "safe" by the description of her eyes and smile? I suppose it depends on if the main character in the continuing story would be the narrator or the girl in the checkout line.

    Good stuff!