The 1196 Word Tattoo

Literary Tattoos: William Faulkner Vladimir Nabokov The Merchant of Venice Telluride Sharon Olds Shakespeare Saul and Patsy Are Getting Comfortable in Michigan Rainer Maria Rilke Love Is Not a Pie Lolita Light Years James Salter I Go Back to May 1937 Charles Baxter Billy Collins As I Lay Dying Aristotle Antonya Nelson Amy Bloom Literary Tattoos: William Faulkner Vladimir Nabokov The Merchant of Venice Telluride Sharon Olds Shakespeare Saul and Patsy Are Getting Comfortable in Michigan Rainer Maria Rilke Love Is Not a Pie Lolita Light Years James Salter I Go Back to May 1937 Charles Baxter Billy Collins As I Lay Dying Aristotle Antonya Nelson Amy Bloom Literary Tattoos: William Faulkner Vladimir Nabokov The Merchant of Venice Telluride Sharon Olds Shakespeare Saul and Patsy Are Getting Comfortable in Michigan Rainer Maria Rilke Love Is Not a Pie Lolita Light Years James Salter I Go Back to May 1937 Charles Baxter Billy Collins As I Lay Dying Aristotle Antonya Nelson Amy Bloom

This is Tasia.  She explains her tattoo:

My name is Tasia Celeste, and my tattoo is a study of the unreliability of language in love relationships in literature.  The tattoo is 1196 words so far, beginning at my index finger, wrapping around my arm, my entire body, and down my leg to my foot.  The heart of it is a quote from Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying, about the uselessness of the word love.  Other passages include the entire first chapter of Lolita, Billy Collins’s great poem “Aristotle,”  a quote from Antonya Nelson‘s story “Telluride,” part of James Salter’s novel Light Years, a full Sharon Olds poem “I Go Back to May 1937” and an excerpt from another… some of “The Merchant of Venice,”  part of Charles Baxter’s story, “Saul and Patsy Are Getting Comfortable in Michigan,” part of Amy Bloom’s “Love Is Not a Pie,” and some Rilke.

Sean Pipkin @ Captain Jack’s Tattoo in Portland did the work, and the photos are by Laura Domela.

Comments

  1. Cass says

    That's a ridiculous thing to do to your body. She could have had some awesome artwork and instead she's filled up her canvas with words. Silly.

    • Dirk says

      OMG! I totally know what you mean, Cass. Instead of getting all of that silly writing that has meaning to her, she totally could have gotten a couple bitchin’ dragons- or maybe some nautical stars! I’m sure every day when she looks in the mirror at the very stylized and original work that she has on her body, she laments all of the swallows, cherries, and spider webs that will never be… silly indeed!

      • johnny says

        She doesnt have to get anything that she would not want as a tattoo, such as a drahon or stars but what she did get is dumb. If she want to have something sttalized she could of had some custom drawn art.

        She should have written a book instead of using her body.

          • Reticence says

            That’s a crude misinterpretation; neither of them were saying that she shouldn’t have been allowed, but that she shouldn’t have.

            • says

              You misinterpreted my meaning. It's arrogant to tell someone what they should and should not do, particularly with something so personal.

              Somehow people manage to comment on this website every day and frame their criticism around "I PERSONALLY wouldn't have chosen this…" and not "this is what you should have done instead!" One is arrogant and presumptuous and the other is not.

            • jo says

              me, for example, i don’t like tattoo with colours or representing sth real. to me tattoos should only be sth like geometrical, and in tones of black. this doesn’t mean that someone else shouldn’t be allowed or shouldn’t have sth variopint or with a cat or a flower or a face in it. or as i said to someone here in this site, i “dislike” tattoo on the calf or on the side of the thigh, but for sure this doesn’t mean that another person should not have it. it’s not my skin, it’s not my mirror, it’s not my life. it’s yor choice ;-)

            • Redundantt says

              Reticence –
              Not their call to make. Even as far as opinions go, those were almost completely useless. There is no “should” about how another person chooses to adorn their body. I’m sure she didn’t get her tattoos with Cass or Johnny’s opinions in mind – thank God.

              She should have written a book? Ok, Johnny should have doodled in a sketchpad.

              Keep in mind not everyone sees skin as a blank canvas meant to be filled with played out concepts or cheesy artwork. A different kind of artist sees the skin as a blank page.

              Also – why come to a website whose sole focus is on literary tattoos and complain about the content?

  2. says

    This is beautiful – through life we are all hurt and sometimes crippled by the way other people treat us and the words they say to us. We are left with scars on our souls and our personalities are not seldom damaged irreparable. You have expressed and claimed your integrity clearly by words from some of the finest thinkers who ever lived on earth and you have expressed it as a wonderful piece of art. May your beautiful tattoo protect you from attacks on your soul for the rest of your life.

  3. Petra says

    I personally think the tattoo words and phrases speak so many more volumes than a “picture” tattoo would. These words mean something to the person wearing them on her body. They speak of secret parts of her that you may never get to hear about or experience; only be blessed with catching a phrase or two on her skin. The metaphors and symbolism the words express are subject to the readers interpretation, mean different things to different people. They are not encapsulated by the specifics of a “picture.” These tattoos were not chosen for the person looking at them. You don’t have to like them or want them on your body. You don’t have to accept her reasoning why. You can simply move on to the next one and not cast stones at things you don’t – or won’t take the time – to understand. SHE – the canvas – knows why this was her chosen path and that is enough. SHE – the canvas – welcomes this “marring” (as some would call it) of her body as expression of HERSELF. And that is the key here. It is EXPRESSION of HERSELF. Whether or not you see its beauty is irrelevant. Me? I see its – HER – extreme beauty…..and I applaud her nonconformity.

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