This belongs to Matthew Lunsford.
Done at Stay True Route 66 Tattoo Parlor, Amarillo TX
From Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". I've always had a sense of wanderlust (growing up as a navy brat only helped fuel it) and I've always been uncomfortable staying in one place.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
- Excerpt from "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
Yesterday I posted 5 "timshel" tattoos. Here are two written in Hebrew.
This belongs to Ryann.
This belongs to Hannah Waterman.
The tattoo is from John Steinbeck's East of Eden. It means "timshel" and it is in Hebrew.
I was inspired by this passage because it spoke to my own personal perspective on choice and how that fits in with in an idea of "God's will" for me, I also am Jewish in background - something I relate to as a culture and a history and less as a religion, so having it done in the Hebrew script felt meaningful and personal, and, finally, as a passionate reader, it was very meaningful to me to choose a moment that I loved from a book that I loved.
This belongs to Jessica.
This belongs to Jen.
My tattoo is from the book East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
I got this tattoo after my first year away at college and after someone had recommended me the book East of Eden. It was my first introduction to Steinbeck, and I fell in love with it. This word, timshel, made me realize that I have a choice in everything I do - I may, or I may not. I was given free will and the option to choose, and I realized that I needed to make my choices wisely. I only get one chance at this life and if we were given the power to choose, then we must make choices that make good use of our free will. I got this after a rough year in which I had made some bad choices and I got it to remind myself to not go down that path again. To remind myself to live with integrity and make good use of the free will that we have been granted.
This belongs to Cara.
My tattoo is a combination of 2 sources . I have a piece of Elliott Smith's Figure 8 wall on my ankle. Then next to it (in "Elliott Smith font") is the word "timshel" from one of my favorite novels, East of Eden. I went to Explicit Tattoo, and was worked on by Geoff, who did a fabulous job.
This belongs to Cassandra.
I got this tattoo as a permanent reminder of one of the best themes from its pages. I love the idea that nothing is prescribed, nothing is unable to be overcome; timshel means "/thou mayest/": thou mayest follow a different path then your screwed up parents, choose a life of goodness, be the person you *want* to be. You can be a lesser person but you have the choice: there's always a choice. It's about evaluating options and choosing your actions. You're never backed into a corner.
Apparently this book is Oprah-endorsed but that is a fact I'm willing to ignore. It's a great book. Everyone should read it.
This belongs to Stephanie Crouch.
I got this tattoo the day after I turned 18, as a happy birthday to myself. I read the book East of Eden by Steinbeck in the January of 2011, the year before, and I knew from the moment I read the scene where the word is introduced I wanted it somewhere on my body. The word 'timshel' is Hebrew for 'thou mayest,' basically free will. I got it not only because I love the novel (it is my all-time favorite, and I doubt that will every change), but because it reminds me that any decision I make is my own and not others. I've had a hard time most of my life trying to make decisions, and this is just a gentle reminder that I don't have to please everyone with what I decide. It's the first of many tattoos to come.
“After two years we felt that we could approach your sixteen verses of the fourth chapter of Genesis. My old gentlemen felt that these words were very important too—‘Thou shalt’ and ‘Do thou.’ And this was the gold from our mining: ‘Thou mayest.’ ‘Thou mayest rule over sin.’ The old gentlemen smiled and nodded and felt the years were well spent. It brought them out of their Chinese shells too, and right now they are studying Greek.”
Samuel said, “It’s a fantastic story. And I’ve tried to follow and maybe I’ve missed somewhere. Why is this word so important?”
Lee’s hand shook as he filled the delicate cups. He drank his down in one gulp. “Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?”
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This belongs to Amanda.
This final sentence-fragment, featured on the last, image-less page of Where the Wild Things Are, is a meaningful touchstone for me, as a mother, because of its simple message about the steadfast nature of parental love.
Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye
and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day
and into the night of his very own room, where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot.
This belongs to Alexis.
These are the last five lines of the 1920 e.e. cummings' poem, "Into the Strenuous Briefness."
(Do you think?) the
i do, world
is probably made
of roses & hello:
(of solongs and, ashes)
2012 was a rather difficult year for me, with a lot of drama and heartbreak and change. And so to start of the new year, I wanted to permanently adorn myself with the idea that all moments are fleeting -- the good and the bad (roses/hello, goodbyes/ashes). The entire poem is wonderful, full of great images -- but it was those last few lines which really resonated.
The work was done by a fantastic artist, Liaa Walter, who is based in Washington DC. I'd recommend her to anyone. And it is in King font.
This belongs to Pier.
This poem means a lot to me and I wanted it to be a part of me and this is the best way I could choose. The font is "Courier New".
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked
- The first line of Allen Ginsberg's Howl.
This tattoo belongs to Misa and was done at Sacred Tattoo, Auckland New Zealand. Georgia font.
Many year ago, a person who I truly love and admire introduced me to Slaughterhouse-Five. He knew that I often escaped into literature, and thought, "who better to escape with than Vonnegut?" The book, and Vonnegut's quotes, helped me through some very tough times. And this tattoo is a reminder of just how far I've come. It tells me to let things go when I need to, to look forward and smile when I can, and to remember there's a far bigger picture here than little old me. Somehow, I find that deeply comforting.
This belongs to Ed.
This is one that was a loooooong time in the making. From about the first moment the needle hit my skin for my first tattoo I had this one in mind. Years and years and years later I finally got it done. The typewriter itself is based on a classic "Loyal Royal" as used by Hemingway among others. The quote on the paper is obviously Vonnegut. I considered getting Vonnegut's actual typer incorporated, but after a little research I found that his chosen model was ugly as fuck so I went with the Royal.
I read Slaughterhouse-Five at least once a year and it's rarely far from my thoughts so it seemed fitting to get it permanently attached to my arm. I hope you like it because I really do.
This belongs to Helga.
This tattoo is the latest out of several I have. My husband nearly died a couple of months ago and everything we have been through together made me think a lot about life and death. I have been reading and re-reading Vonnegut for years and always discovered some new aspects that helped me through when dark days came. This tattoo helps me to remember that I can go on no matter what and that basically world is a terrific place.
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? 71 down, 35 to go.