Andy commented on yesterday’s post “Help, I have a tattoo addiction.” Which is not a million miles away from true. I’ve been thinking about the tattoo I’ll have when I’m sixty, but in the meantime, I also discovered a couple of wonderful blogs which list, and picture, literary tattoos, tattoos about books and poetry and authors and reading. (Contrariwise and The Word Made Flesh).
They have some fantastic things on: for instance, the author of Contrariwise is trying to collect 106 examples of tattoos of the quote “So it goes” from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, because that’s how many times it’s mentioned in the book. When she last posted a year she was up to 98. On her blog I found a Dr Seuss quote that I love: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.” I’m thinking I might like to have that tattoed along the inside of my right arm, although first I’d have to decide on the font or the writing; people on the blogs have wonderful stories for why they picked the particular font or writing for their tattoos.
And there are some other quote style tattoos I’m musing on. I quite fancy the idea of a little “Work in progress” tattoo somewhere, in tribute both to the fact that I will have more tattoos, and that I will be a work in progress until the day I die. On the same theme, I fancy the idea of a tattoo featuring Granny Weatherwax’s words “I ATEN’T DED”, as a tribute to one of my favourite authors, who died recently (about which more anon).
But at the moment the frontrunner is the idea of having a tattoo of the quote “This is water”, from David Foster Wallace’s extraordinary speech to the graduating students of Kenyon College in 2005. I was going to quote from it, but there are far too many wonderful bits of it, and anyway, you need to read the whole thing, which you can do here. Read it, and then weep that we lost him, but also marvel that someone could so exactly and beautifully put these things into words, and also give us one tiny three word phrase to carry with us as a talisman to remind us of them. I have a place for these words; I just need to decide how I want them to look.
But regardless, I’m not going to have any more tattoos until December. I need to let myself mull so that I know I really really want them. And besides, one thought does keep recurring, slightly disturbingly in the light of Andy’s comments with which I began this post – your favourite tattoo…. is always the one you’re going to have next.