Gallery of Strangers – Tattoo Mom

People watching. It’s an unfortunate part of being a writer. Not too socially disruptive, but still weird. At least it makes me feel weird, what with my guilty conscience.

Still, it’s essential. As writers, we have to watch people, listen closely to how they speak, what they say. Not because we’re stalkers, but because we need reference–like any artist.

A painter might google a reference for white tree bark before working on a new piece.

Writers can’t just google “How someone acts on the bus early in the morning,” or, “A weird thing a person might wear in public that I couldn’t possibly imagine.”

For that reason, I pay a lot of attention to people who say, do, or wear unique, interesting things. Mannerisms, sayings–any personality traits that make them stand out. Anything that I can use to make a more realistic or endearing character.

And I thought, “Hey, why not share what I’ve seen on the blog?” Not in an attempt to describe it (I’m not going all Workshop Wednesday on this [although I acknowledge that yesterday’s post would’ve been a Gallery of Strangers if I’d thought about it]). The goal here is just to share.

With, of course, the disclaimer that I’m never going to name names; these posts will never be about dishing on someone’s fashion sense.

That said, here we go.

~~~Tattoo Mom~~~

On the bus, I once saw an older woman with graying hair.

Who also had a ton of tattoos.

It wasn’t the combo of grays and tats that was striking; it was the tattoos themselves. They went up one side of her neck, along one arm and down her hand. And they were all extremely similar, simple symbols. No flowers, flags, saints, or skulls. Just lines and circles. Zig zags and spirals arrayed in a way that had no clear meaning.

The only way to be sure where she’d gotten her ink was asking her. And I wasn’t going to do that.

So, instead–without ogling–I got a good look at those symbols, trying to find a pattern. Never succeeding.

But, in the end, whatever meaning they had didn’t matter. All that really mattered was, no matter how she got them, those tattoos made her the most intriguing character I saw that day.


Thanks for reading! If you’re a regular, I cannot put it into words how much I appreciate your support. As a struggling writer, it genuinely brightens my day when I see familiar names returning. So, thank you moteridgerider, Maxxesbooktopia, daily22792, Tetiana Aleksina, and abooknation. Also thank you to Lloyd S. R. and August Kyle for the Follows. You guys . . . Just, really, thank you.

If you’re new, my name is Louis Santiago, and I’m a fantasy writer based in the Bronx. My short story, “Aixa the Hexcaster,” was recently published in Mirror Dance Fantasy. However, I’m still very much learning about the writing process–still trying to figure it out. Part of that means posting on here every weekday, even though I make absolutely no money from it. So, if you like what you read here and feel up to getting an email every weekday–a new post from me delivered right to your inbox–then please hit the Follow button at the bottom of this page. Because, even though all I get from this site is emotional support, that support means the world to me.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I promise my next post won’t be about random people I saw in public–really it won’t.

But, until then, thanks again for stopping by. And, as always, write well.