When a Picture “Is” Worth a Thousand Words
Several years ago I’d heard from a friend about a remarkable concept for a new book being “written”. It’s called SKIN by Shelley Jackson and her idea is to create a book where the only true printing is on the skin of 2095 participants. Word by word, an entire book made up of tattooed people. Each participant becomes a word in her book and as a living book; it is also a dying book. For as long as she can, Shelley will remove words from her book as participants pass away, taking their word with them. She even plans on attending the funerals of her words.
A few years ago that same friend had written to the author requesting to participate. After some time she was accepted and given the chance to become a word. I say chance because you as the participant have no control over the word you’re given. It’s in a specific order and you can take it or leave it. If you leave it, you’re out. No second chances for a better word. The word is put back into the pool to be given to someone else who wants to participate. 2 years ago my friend finally received her word (delay due to illness of the author at the time) and what a glorious word it was. She received the word “world”. This word suited her so remarkably it was as if it was truly meant for her and no one else. Some months later she found the right tattooist to emblazon this word on her and he did and it was beautiful. All of us in attendance were so proud and awestruck.
So now it’s 2008 and the book continues to ebb and flow. So why am I posting about this? I’m sure you’ve guess by now haven’t you? I wrote to Shelley back in 2006 asking to be in her book and I was honored with my own acceptance into the book this past Wednesday. I’ve filled out my release form and mailed it back to her Friday. I replied to Shelley with my sincere thanks and to let her know how timely this all was for me. 2008 is going to be my year. Not a resolution but a promise. It’s still a daily struggle at the moment, but truly being the smiling girl inside that everyone sees of me outside is the path I’ve chosen to take; to become me.
I won’t know what word has been chosen for me for at least a few months if not a year from now. She’s doing this project alone so I have to be patient. Once it arrives I promise to make it known. Whether it’s as simple as the word “the”, as thought provoking as the word “oasis”, or surprising as “end.”, I’m looking forward to another piece of my transformation. Let’s just hope my word isn’t “butt”.