My Guitar

Literary Tattoos: Shel Silverstein Illustrations A Light in the Attic

This belongs to Christian, who also has a popular Dylan Thomas tattoo.

My freshman year in high-school, I found my dad’s Alvarez guitar buried beneath boxes of keepsakes and old jackets. The old guitar had been given to him by his father’s best friend who was killed, only weeks later, in an oil-field accident. Over the next few years, I slowly taught myself basic chords and spent many nights playing songs underneath the stars of West Texas.

When I left home for the Texas Hill Country to attend college, I discovered a passion for songwriting. As a Creative Writing major, I found the marriage of music with the written word to be a perfect fit. I knew for a long time that I wanted a tattoo that somehow embodied this ardor for music and language. Almost seven years after discovering that dust-covered case in the closet, I realized the perfect image to express this had been waiting for me since childhood.

I spent hours as a kid in the local library poring over the books of Shel Silverstein. Like many others of my generation, I rediscovered Shel as an adult. In fact, one of the first songs I learned to strum on a six-string was “A Boy Named Sue.” Earlier this year, while flipping through a yellowing copy of A Light in the Attic, I turned to the page with the poem, “My Guitar.”

There it was: music, poetry, and a tribute to a man I consider a hero.

Literary Tattoos: Shel Silverstein Illustrations A Light in the Attic

Oh, wouldn’t it be a most wondrous thing
To have a guitar that could play and could sing
By itself – what an absolute joy it would be
To have a guitar… that didn’t need me

- My Guitar by Shel Silverstein, published in A Light in the AtticLiterary Tattoos: Shel Silverstein Illustrations A Light in the Attic

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