You’re a Genius all the time

Literary Tattoos: Jack Kerouac Belief and Technique for Modern Prose

This belongs to Zoe.

This tattoo is from Jack Kerouac’s 30 rules on writing. It’s his 29th rule, written in his handwriting on my forearm. Took me a while to pull and place all of his unique little characters together (printed out a lot of his handwritten correspondences to get his handwriting as accurate as I wanted), but it’s finally done. I’m so happy with it, and it’ll serve as a reminder to value myself, especially when I’m writing.

Got this done at Harlem Hype Tattoos in New York City, by Sherman Patrice.

scribbled secret notebooks

Literary Tattoos: Jack Kerouac Belief and Technique for Modern Prose

This belongs to “kinko88″.

This is my first tattoo, done by Matt at Evolved in Columbus, OH. The quote is from Jack Kerouac; it’s his first on a list of thirty tips for “spontaneous prose” (what he called his own writing style). I chose this quote because I’ve been fascinated by the Beat Generation–their literature, poems, the relationships between different members of the circle, ideas in general–since I first read On the RoadLiterary Tattoos: Jack Kerouac Belief and Technique for Modern Prose and “Howl” in high school. I write poetry and stories casually (using an old typewriter of course!), and am always jotting down little phrases that come to my head, so I thought this quote was especially appropriate. And no, the “yr” is not a typo, it’s how Kerouac wrote it.

“scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy”

- Jack Kerouac

Literary Sleeve

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 :)

Literary Tattoos: Ulysses On The Road Jack Kerouac Carl Sagan Alfred Lord Tennyson

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.

Literary Tattoos: Ulysses On The Road Jack Kerouac Carl Sagan Alfred Lord Tennyson

Emily explains:

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.

burn, burn, burn

tattoo, tattoo, tattoo.

This belongs to Hasdeu:

Literary Tattoos: On The Road Jack Kerouac

This belongs to Oliver:

The novel as a whole really connected with me and the quote, for me, is at the core of the novels meaning. I had it done on the inside of my bicep, so it would be quite personal and not totally visible to all, but this hasn’t stopped the curious passersbys from asking about it, yet to meet someone who has recognised it straight off however.

Literary Tattoos: On The Road Jack Kerouac

And this belongs to Nic:

Literary Tattoos: On The Road Jack Kerouac

“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 and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”

- Jack Kerouac

burn, burn, burn

This tattoo was submitted by Alyssa:

This is my first tattoo. “On the Road” is so important to who I am today and was practically my bible when I was 17. It’s a reminder to me always live a life filled with passion.

Literary Tattoos: On The Road Jack Kerouac

“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 and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”

- Jack Kerouac, On the Road