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are tattoos involving literature stupid?

This Sunday I will be getting some new tat work done. On my ribcage, I will be getting the phrase we all hold dear which is “en medias res” As you know, a writing term meaning “start in the middle.” I’m doing this because I’m re-starting my life again, sort of. One of my friends is becoming a tattoo apprentice so to show love we’re all going out to let him brand us forever. On my left arm, I will be getting in tiny letters, “dont be a wimp” after my friend told me a story involving Andrew WK writing this on cue cards and handing it out to people in NYC recently, and because it is hilarious. I will also be getting a dandelion after Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine on my right arm, though I still haven’t picked which line from the work will forever appear on my arm at the top of the image. With 48  hours to go and counting. My friend has an entire sleeve of Fahrenheit 451 which I actually think is amazing. But still, I can’t stop thinking about a panel I was at last spring which Brian Evenson was sitting on, and when he told a story about a guy who went up to him and showed him a tattoo he had gotten of work Brian had written. I can’t quote directly but the sentiment Brian gave to the audience was something to the effect of that he was a little freaked out by it. Would Bradbury tell me I shouldn’t get this tattoo? 48 hours and counting. Tick-tock. (Oh, and no, I’m not going to tell you about the other awful tattoos I have they’re too bad for words)
i keep trying to post the cover version of a woman and two boys writing but google images won’t let me. le sigh

29 thoughts on “are tattoos involving literature stupid?

  1. depends on which version of the Latin JDW, actually?
    will think about the no words idea. i guess they could always be added later?
    ill ask a translator about the en/in we/vs no we issue
    thanks, big other you have me thinking about the word we today

  2. I don’t think Literature tattoos are dumb. I work in a tattoo shop and have book tattoos (one that I got when I finished my first novel, another for one of my favorite novels.) I think tattoos of phrases in languages you can’t speak are dumb. A girl came in to get ‘Je ne regrette rien.’ I told her she should get ‘Je ne parle pas français’ on the other forearm, to which she replied, ‘That would look pretty cool.’

      1. Just symbols, no quotes. The record store is called JET BLACK records (after the Jawbreaker song) so I got a black jet. Pretty simple. More of a victory dance than anything else.

  3. wait wait thats hilarious the font we’re using for dont be a wimp is from the jawbreaker t-shirt when it rains it pours which i named a story after (salt girl, too)
    holy crap another girl who likes jawbreaker
    controversial opinion: the boat dreams from the hill was the best song. i know thats so odd and nobody agrees but i dont care. we also have the same name…ah, the internet

    1. I used to work at a grocery store and would whistle Jawbreaker when stocking Morton’s Salt.

      Have to say (though I know everyone says it) that Sluttering and Boxcar are probably my favorites. Simple and catchy without being generic/bubblegum. Too, sorry to break the solidarity, but I’m a dude. Though my wife likes JB a bunch, as well.

  4. see what i mean?
    i have yet to find another female friend who will talk about jawbreaker with me
    thats hilarious about the stocking/whistling, good idea to make the time go by. boxcar was so good.

  5. I’ve got a ‘literary’ tattoo. It’s a parentheses with an ellipses enclosed:


    It stand for the things that go unsaid, and it was something I wanted for a while, and then I read Pessoa’s ‘The Book of Disquietude,’ and there are all of those gaps where they’re missing words and phrases because they disintegrated or were illegible and that was the symbol they used in those spots to show that text was missing and I loved that book and so that solidified it. I got it when I was 21, and I still love it.

  6. see thats beautiful and i feel like a good example of why people should wait until they’re older to get tats for sure, when they actually can think about it before they go ahead and jump

  7. Hey guys, sorry to turn this discussion me-ward, but I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we’re still collecting literary tattoos for The Word Made Flesh, the photo-book of lit-tats that I’m co-editing. I’d love to see stuff from any/everyone who mentioned having literary ink. I posted the submission guidelines on HTMLGiant a while back, but the short version of the story is send a high-res image (ideally 600dpi or better) to tattoolit@gmail.com , along with a note about the inspiration for the work and the name of your tattooist. Nicolle, I am going to now go bug you about this a second time via email. Cheers, everyone.

  8. hi babe!
    email sent to brett. his F 451 bradbury sleeve i think he got in japan when we were merely stumbling around the world infants and i know theres a good story behind it i’ll forward him the email. we are doing the latin one on me tomors FINALLY its been a long process because my friend doing it is still an apprentice. i changed my mind the dandelion wine bradbury matching to brett one for my g-pa is going on my ribs. sometime next month and the andrew wk dont be a wimp one i’m hoping to squeeze out of him tomor 2 but they’re all free so it depends on how good a mood his boss will be in. i have a bunch of friends with all kinds of john locke type americana collar-bone tattoos of give me liberty etc quotes if those will fit too we can send over pics
    it is cold up here someone mail me a hot toddy

  9. JDW: holy crap we both had Jawbreaker inspired stories out this year and didn’t know that rules!

  10. oh yes in case anyone was wondering why this hasnt happened yet we got snowed in yesterday is the answer
    le sigh

  11. uptadey: J
    -crying lot 49
    -the little prince
    will be sent to you via my email via kids from my board asap they went nuts for the idea in the thread actually
    why am i not emailing this hold on

  12. J:
    kendrah (non writer Kendrah) is going to also send her feet they are vonneguts cats cradle one says no damn cat and one says no damn cradle
    i dont even know if you are still reading this, actually
    i will stfu

  13. it says in medias res on my forearm now
    next month is the dandelion
    its navy blue
    it didnt hurt that bad (the one on my spine when i was 15 hurt much worse)
    pics sent

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