This belongs to Alexandra:
"Stop!" she cried, "don't sing that. I don't want you to sing it," and she laid her glass so impetuously and blindly upon the table as to shatter it against a carafe. The wine spilled over Arobin's legs and some of it trickled down upon Mrs. Highcamp's black gauze gown. Victor had lost all idea of courtesy, or else he thought his hostess was not in earnest, for he laughed and went on:
"Ah! si tu savais
Ce que tes yeux me disent"—
"Oh! you mustn't! you mustn't," exclaimed Edna, and pushing back her chair she got up, and going behind him placed her hand over his mouth. He kissed the soft palm that pressed upon his lips.
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin, originally from a french folk song, as per the book. It means "If only you knew" in French. The words and the language both inspire me, but the choice to tattoo the words came from the deep connection I felt with the character Edna. I understand her despair in love, and I find the words "Ah, si tu savais!" are really the only way to describe it.
Emily emailed me her awesome tattoo a few weeks ago. She described it as follows:
Several quotes including Emily Dickinson, Alfred (Lord) Tennyson, Jack Kerouac, Carl Sagan, covering topics such as love, science, education, imagination, strength, and passionate people. Tattoo was done by Ivy Gowen at Metamorphosis in Winnipeg, MB (Canada). Fonts used are Travelling Typewriter and Veteran Typewriter with the artist's own ink splatterings added :)
It's not every day someone emails me a whole text sleeve tattoo, so I wrote back for more details! I've included some of the excerpts below, and you can read more about the tattoo on her blog.
The first excerpt across my shoulder is from Ulysses, and talks of the evanescence of the strength of youth, but also of the immortality of the strength of heart and will:
“Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Around the corner, across the top of my arm, is an excerpt from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road:
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
Beneath, by Emily Dickinson, is one of my favourite quotes about love. Not an everyday kind of love, but a love that burns brighter than any dream imaginable… a love that transcends words, life, time and death:
“That I shall love always, I argue thee that love is life, and life hath immortality.”
After this, I had two terribly sciencey quotes added, along with a brilliant splattering of ink across much of what had already been done.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known,” (Carl Sagan), and “ad astra per aspera” (through adversity to the stars… I believe at one point, this was used by NASA).
I have a few strands of text still to go, a couple of stray words and one full-size quote (below), and then, for now, I’ll be finished! The thing I love about this isn’t just the immortality of so many sentiments that mean so much to me, but also that as I grow and evolve, so too can this.
“As I see it, life is an effort to grip before they slip through one’s fingers and slide into oblivion, the startling, the ghastly, or the blindingly exquisite fish of the imagination before they whip away on the endless current and are lost forever in oblivion’s black ocean.”
Love, science, imagination, language, strength and stars now walk with me through life, and I couldn't be happier with how it’s taking shape.
This belongs to Jessica Bischoff.
This belongs to Bia.
This belongs to Jason Meyer in Boise, Idaho.
It strikes me as the simplest explanation of life and everything in it.
This was posted as a part of “So it Goes” Saturdays. The phrase “so it goes” appears in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five 106 times. Can you help me collect 106 “so it goes” tattoos? 62 down, 44 to go.
This belongs to Laina.
It translates to the saying "You never know".
"On ne sait jamais."
This is Ella who lives in Israel.
I read "Brideshead Revisited" by Evelyn Waugh when I was fifteen, for the first time, and I remember thinking that it was an incredibly melancholy book. When I was eighteen, I was drafted, and then, one night in guard duty, I read it again and was charmed. After I was honourably discharged, I had this line tattooed, as the line that haunted me through many sunrises and sunsets.
In the beginning, there is a lovely scene of youthful languor, before the characters' lives fall apart in their hands, and one turns to the other and wonders: "If it could only be like this always--always summer, always alone, fruit always ripe..."
But of course, it can't always be summer, and we can't always be alone, and the fruit will rot and a tree will sprout in its place, and you cannot stop time. But you can immortalize it in ink :)
This belongs to Deb.
I just finished my undergraduate degrees, and decided to get something to remind me that things are not always in my control.
This belongs to mleisrad.
I had this famous line tattooed onto my ankle four years after my grandfather died. One week prior to his death, I read Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. These two events marked a significant point in my life where I gained a new perspective on life, death and loss.
In this passage, Vonnegut puts into words what I cannot.
"The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.
The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in the particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is "So it goes."
This tattoo continues to helps me cope with any loss, by reminding me that everything is forever; what may not be seen is still there.
This belongs to Jamie.
It's done in my handwriting. I got it to remind myself that sometimes shit falls apart. It happens. Everything can hit the fan and tear my life to shreds; it's happened before and it will again and I have no control over it. Like the Tralfamadorians say, it simply is. But I can handle it. I always have. So it Goes.
This was posted as a part of “So it Goes” Saturdays. The phrase “so it goes” appears in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five 106 times. Can you help me collect 106 “so it goes” tattoos? 59 down, 47 to go.
This belongs to Sara.
This is my tattoo from The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It's an original illustration from the book. The book has been a favorite of mine since childhood, and I knew that one day I would want to get a picture or text tattoo to represent it. I chose this particular drawing because it is my favorite part of the book. The main character, Milo, has just met Chroma, the conductor of the world's colors. He is responsible for conducting an orchestra that produces daytime and nighttime, sunrises and sunsets, and is the reason for the passage of time. Milo's responsibility is to wake Chroma up in time to conduct the sunrise, but instead he decides to attempt to conduct himself, and he accidentally conducts the orchestra through an entire week of time. The tattoo is of Milo sleeping on the conductor's music. I love this part so much because it is whimsical and beautiful, and as the rest of the book, makes you look at the everyday in a new way. It keeps me appreciating what I have, and the kid inside of me will always love the story.