Known. Some. Call. Is. Air. Am.

Literary Tattoos: Mark Z. Danielewski House of Leaves

This is Sam’s tattoo from Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves:

The main character, Johnny Truant, strings these seemingly random words: Known. Some. Call. Is. Air. Am. and follows it with “Incoherent? Yes. Entirely without meaning? I’m afraid not.”
The assortment of words is actually phonetic Latin for “Non sum qualis eram.” or “I am not what I once was.”
When I first read the passage, I thought it was just a clever ploy by the author, but as time went on and I got older, I realized how much the quote meant to me. Growing up, I realized I was a completely different person than who I thought I was. The only natural thing to do was to express it with something permanent and unchanging.


  1. Jo says

    I never studied latin, but to me, being italian, the pronunciation is different than the english… Anyway, the idea is good.

    • guest says

      Italian is just a Latin based language.. pronunciation is very different.. I mean French and Romanian are Latin languages as well… do any of these three languages have much in common pronunciation wise? I wouldn’t vouch on your Italian skills when reading Latin man!

      • Jo says

        Every letter has its sound, in italian and i think in latin too. So every letter you write you always out the same sound. In english,french, even german, sometimes in spanish and greek, too, a letter can have a different sound when coupled with another one.
        Just to make it easy for you.
        I can read latin, but not with the correct intonazione, other thing than accent

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