Today's ink story comes from Roy Pickering, author of Patches of Grey, Feeding the Squirrels, and most recently, Matters of Convenience.
I got my tattoos before it became such a trendy rite of passage to mark one's flesh. In fact, tattoo parlors were conducting illegal business in New York City at the time. Within a year or two afterward that had changed, and suddenly you could get tatted virtually everywhere without it being a crime or earning so much as a raised eyebrow. But it was at the tail end of the era of tattoos being risque when I went to a parlor learned about from the sister of a frequent customer. It was upstairs from the legendary and no longer with us CBGB.
The first one I got was a skull in flames pierced by a dagger. It didn't symbolize anything for me, I just thought it looked bad ass. Still do. After awhile it seemed strange to have a single image permanently needled on to my body that was so devilish in nature. I was no choir boy but felt misrepresented by my ink. So I went back to the parlor and asked for something with the opposite vibe, something angelic. "How about an angel?", the artist asked. Why hadn't I thought of that?
After that day I felt balanced, branded by the evil we are all capable of as well as the good that resides in our hearts. They are reminders when I commit characters to the page hat oversimplification makes for bad writing. Rather than one dimensional saints and equally strait jacketed sinners, I strive for realism. This means acknowledging that good people sometimes do bad things, and bad people can possess noble qualities while making self serving decisions at the expense of others. My tattoos represent the proverbial devil whispering into one ear while a cherub advises me in the other to take an alternate course. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell which voice is which.
Roy Pickering was born on the idyllic island of St. Thomas and currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and daughter. His debut novel "Patches of Grey" earned a B.R.A.G Medallion Award. His novella "Feeding the Squirrels" is published by SynergEbooks in electronic format. His second novel "Matters of Convenience" was published in November 2016. Anthologies that house Roy's fiction include Proverbs for the People, Role Call, The Game: Short Stories About the Life, Prose to be Read Aloud and Independent Author Index Short Story Compilation. He is currently working on a series of children's books being illustrated by his wife.