Anyone have a good idea for a Mark Twain tattoo?
By tjoselow on April 05, 2010
I'm in the market for a Mark Twain tattoo, but need some inspiration.
Ask my friends, family, or anyone who's been in my living room - I have kind of a thing for Twain. i've read all of the Twain I can get my hands on including some of his more obscure writings, and correspondence, and cannot bear to leave copies of his books unattended in used book stores. I have a shelf devoted to the man. Four shelves, actually, and buy duplicate copies of my favorites so that I can hand them out to people who may benefit from a collection of Twain-y short stories or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
I believe that in another hundred years, people will understand more fully that there is more to his work than some good-humored quaint country stories of an America past. It's a complete and timeless philosophy. Twain provides a framework for a no-bullshit moral code that is in turns cantankerous and kind, sympathetic and sarcastic, sweet and cruel. And I want to commemorate this on my skin.
When I was in school in Middle-of-Nowhere Ohio, I stopped at a gas station late one night to buy cigarettes and saw that the clerk had an incredible tattoo that wrapped around his entire beefy forearm. "Gorgeous work," I said. "Oh, you like it? Yeah, it's A Midsummer Night's Dream." And when I looked more closely, it was. All of the characters rendered beautifully, and he just beamed when he looked at it. Clearly, the play had touched him deeply and he created this spectacular tribute to it that he could carry with him always.
I'm a little old and a little matronly to do something as bold as a whole arm piece, but do very much want to have a token somewhere discreet to this icon who has meant so much to me for so long.
A couple of years ago, I did mange to figure out a good Douglas Adams tattoo to pay homage to my other literary mentor, and had it applied to my right side (here it is). But my first love, Twain, is so far unrepresented. And that seems kind of wrong. For reasons that probably don't require further explanation, I don't want to do just a portrait of the man, but don't have in mind an iconic image that would make good body art.
And so I ask you. Any ideas? Have you seen any good literary tattoos in the wild?
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