My grandmother’s name was Olive. It was a fitting name for her, since the Olive tree is a symbol of peace. She was the most peaceful, kind human I have ever known. She belonged to many charities, she visited shut-ins, she protected animals. She was the only real positive influence in my life as a child, and I feel so grateful for having had her as the adult to model myself after. I fear the person I would have become in the absence of that role model.
My grandmother also introduced me to reading. She read stories to me all the time, classic literature like Little Women and Water Babies, as well as classics from Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. When I was very young she would seat me in her lap and read me stories from books that contained only the occasional picture plate, forcing me to use my imagination to put together my own pictures of the characters and stories as she read. I remember staring at all of those black words lining the pages and wanting so badly to be able to read them myself. She started to teach me to read when others thought it was too early and futile, and I learned quickly, freeing me to explore her library of literature on my own. So began my love affair with books, and on the heels of that, my insatiable interest in writing. As soon as I could draw words with a pencil I was creating elaborate stories and writing poetry. She kept my poetry and stories, and when she passed away I found them all in a box in her closet.
Ever since then, the spark to write has been burning inside of me. It isn’t a choice really, more of something that just needs to be done, provoked by musings, experiences, healing, or imagination. “I write for the same reason that I breathe. Because if I didn’t, I would die.” said Isaac Asimov. That explains it fully.
For these reasons, I decided on this new tattoo. An olive branch morphing into a pen, commemorating my idol and mentor, and her gift to me.