So, the way that this tattoo wraps around my leg, it’s basically impossible to photograph, properly anyway.
One day I know…
One day I’ll be…
Looking back on me…
It’s from a Priscilla Ahn song, One Day I Will Do, which is off of her really excellent second record, When You Grow Up. The entire record is worth buying, but I’ve gotten really fond of One Day I Will Do.
To me, it’s a song about a life that’s in a drift, and then regretting that drift. You know you could do better, could be better, but you’re not. You’re just not. You know that at the end of everything, you’re either going to to see your life as a giant waste, or as something that was good and beautiful. Knowing that one day you’ll look back across the expanse of your life and might find it lacking, could easily find it lacking, is a sobering thought, a thought that could lead you toward someplace that feels… right.
I feel like this song, I’m scared of that look back on myself. I’m scared I’ll see ruin and waste. These words are kind of a prayer etched into my flesh, a prayer to remember to be better, because at the end of me, I don’t want to look back and see the waste I’m living now stretched until my last then.1 comment
So, last night I got tattoo #54. I have at least posted a picture for every tattoo, except one… and now, two. Tattoo #54 is another that’s completely, totally mine. It’ll never get posted here, and the few people who will see it, they never get to know what it means, nobody does. Certain words don’t get seen, certain stories don’t get told. It’s from a really pretty, yet really raw, Nirvana song that no casual fan would know.
The only down side to this is that my friend, Dani, did the tattoo and nobody gets to see her work. She bought her own machine, gear, lugged it all to my place. She’s been asking for awhile to save one tattoo for her, so I did. I usually have everything done at Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, but I think they’ll dig the idea of letting a budding artist have some practice. Dani’s really talented, has artistic mind, so I wasn’t scared she’d butcher me. I knew she’d do the words justice, and she did, it’s great, so I feel bad keeping it hidden, but she understands the whys.1 comment
So, this tattoo is from Aimee Mann’s highly acclaimed song, Wise Up, off the soundtrack for the film, Magnolia. I already wrote about Magnolia and Wise Up a few weeks ago, so I’m not going to do it in any great detail again here. Oh, don’t confuse the poppy as being part of this tattoo, it isn’t. Anyways, Wise Up is just a really beautiful song, the gist of which is life will continue to feel bad until you do something to make it feel good.
Right now, I just want to be next to someone, to hold her close, tell her how I love her so completely, ceaselessly. I’d sleep. It’s easy to sleep when I don’t feel like part of me is somewhere else. It’s easy to sleep knowing that when I wake up, I’ll see her exquisitely beautiful face. Her eyes would be all drowsy, but silently say that she loves me. She’d ask me if I slept any, she’d tell me about her crazy dreams. I haven’t been there in so long, but that’s how it was. I could wake up next to her every morning until I quit breathing, the permanent quit, every morning I’d feel blessed. She’s the only person who lights this empty place in my heart, it’s like a million little twinkly white Christmas lights strung all over a huge ferris-wheel. That’s how she makes me feel inside, bright and happy, like there’s adventure all around.
I want life to feel good, like I absolutely know it can, entirely. I mean, as dark as I get, it’s not because I believe life is just one concatenation of misery until you’re dead. I don’t think that at all. Life is something gorgeous, there’s been so much beauty and adventure in mine, so I know for a fact that life can be all puppies and flowers. There’s just this hole in me, this giant abandoned fairground that’s shrouded in sadness, loneliness. I’ve done some stupid, awful things trying to fill that place with light again, which only served to make that place darker, and lonelier. I need to wise up, that’s the point. Stop doing things that make me more empty, stop digging myself nice, deep holes. Don’t die this way.
I miss my light, more than I can explain.No comments
So, this is from a Nirvana song, Blandest (Demo), which is off their With the Lights Out collection. I wonder how many songs from With the Lights Out would have been polished and put on studio records and become part of the broad lexicon of pop-culture rather than be these really obscure treasures that pretty much only Nirvana fans ever find. What if what if what if.
Anyway, you all puzzle out what if means and why it’s etched into my chest forever, my forever, at least. Leave comments, try to guess, whatever.1 comment
So, this tattoo, #51, is from an Alanis Morissette song, These R the Thoughts, which is off her MTV Unplugged record. MTV Unplugged is tied with Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (SFIJ) as my favorite Alanis record. MTV Unplugged is so great because Alanis’ voice is gorgeous and being outside the typical studio setting you really get to hear that voice. I’ve seen her in concert too, she just has a spectacular, raw, beautiful voice. MTV Unplugged shows her voice, and it has a few of my favorite songs off of SFIJ, which is why I love it so much. These R the Thoughts is only on MTV Unplugged and no other studio record. The song’s basically a series of worries, questions she asks herself throughout a day. The song doesn’t have any hooky chorus, it’s just a series of questions… Why do I feel cellularly alone? Am I supposed to live in this crazy city? Can blindly continued fear-induced regurgitated life-denying tradition be overcome? It’s so not a hooky pop song, or rock song, it’s a journal set to great music. My favorite section, part of which is etched into my arm, Why do I fear that the quieter I am, the less you will listen? Why do I care whether you like me or not? Why is it so hard for me to be angry? Why is it such work to stay conscious and so easy to get stuck and not the other way around? Both of those sections, the latter, obviously, sound so much like the questions I ask myself, the worries in my head.
In a larger sense, sure, I do worry that if I quit writing here, quit trying to get published in print, quit writing altogether, I’d just disappear. Nobody would care, or come looking for me, or even idly wonder, “Whatever happened to that guy, he wrote about zombies and sex, and loneliness and suicide and addiction and dark optimism and some girl? I think it was some girl. He had all those tattoos… What was his name? Michael something?” I think most writers, even the ones who get seriously paid, write because we love the craft and want to be remembered for what we did with it. We write to be known. I don’t think Jeff VanderMeer or K.J. Bishop or Michael Cisco would quit writing if the paychecks stopped. We have words in our blood and we cut ourselves so that all those words come pouring out, and we want people to watch. It’s a little bizarre, but we want people to watch. The words can’t just stay inside, the words flow thorough our veins and bounce around in our heads, we’re full up, so we have to get those words out and put them somewhere else. Yes, I do worry about getting quiet and fading into oblivion.
Really though, it’s much deeper than that, it’s less about a writer’s want and more about something personal. In the song, Alanis is talking about just one person. I only worry about one person not listening, not wanting to know me. The day we met we talked for three hours, I so wanted to know her, and I so wanted her to know me. I was scared that night, that first night, that there wouldn’t be a second. It’s something out of Shakespeare, something only story-tellers tell, but I loved her that night. It was just one long IM, but as ridiculous as it sounds, I loved her. She sent her picture and I only fell harder, I just left the picture open all night. I didn’t want her to be just a dream, it felt like a dream. No one’s eyes could be that beautiful, showing that much intelligence and warmth. We went to our first movie together, those eyes saw mine, I got lost in them. That was just about four years ago and I still get completely lost in her eyes, I just keep loving her more. Every-day I love her more. My words, they’re all hers, they’re all so that she can know everything that’s in my head. Lots of them are here, some of them ended up in print on Amazon.com. There are pages upon pages that no one, save her, will ever see, they’re hers, written for her eyes and no one else’s. Most of the words etched into my skin are hers. It’s all just so she can know me, and be close to me. How can you really be close to someone if you don’t give them everything in your head, beautiful words, dark words, scared words, every word? I love her more than I can explain, but I try, I so try, in flash fiction, in e-mail that’s written after bad dreams, in romantic paper letters. She asked, “Why do you love me and not someone else? There are thousands of women, thousands of mes.” I didn’t have an answer all in a pretty wrapped box with a teal silk bow on top, the question just scared me. I’ve written a mixed media novel in answer to that question, digitally, in print, on my skin. I didn’t say the right thing, I got frustrated, it just felt like something you say before you disappear. How could she ask that and not know my head, and my heart? I got upset, overly so. Though, the simple honest answer is that when I’m with her, I never want to be anywhere else, with anyone else. When I’m not with her, it’s like part of me is missing, so I’m never completely anywhere since we met.
I got the tattoo when she felt far away, I felt like nothing I said meant anything. So, I got quiet, and I got scared. Now I’m here and she’s somewhere else. I’m lost and drowning in words she doesn’t want anymore, not from me.No comments
I don’t have anything particularly interesting to write. I got new glasses, aside from my fucked up eye, I think the glasses are kind of fetching.
My head’s somewhere else, I have like, five posts started and unfinished, one pushing a thousand words. I just can’t finish any of them. Can’t, won’t, don’t feel like it, something along one of those limes.
Maybe I’ll post my last three tattoos later. Maybe. Eventually. Of course.No comments
I’m still pretty scattered, but I really am trying to post every-day and if I keep doing that, at some point, I’ll write something pretty. So, that’s the plan.
Yesterday, I started a big project, well, I made Lauren, my assistant, start it. A few years ago I got lazy and quit tagging my blog posts, really, my assistant, Sarah, used to tag them and when she retired, I didn’t keep it up. Part of it was, I just missed her, and doing the tags or making someone else do them, that just made me miss her more. So, the tagging stopped. Yes, an assistant’s just an employee, but the good ones, they do get really important. I miss them when they go, there’s a real sense of loss, another person who goes. Sarah was around when my thumb quit working and I could hardly type, hardly talk to anyone, before the NeuroSwitch. People weren’t really around anyway. Sarah was around though, so we’d go to lunch, at night we’d go to the bar, we’d alphabet conversations. She was good with the alphabet and smart to talk with, so she kept me sane when I really needed it. Sometimes, sitting at the bar, with a vodka tonic and ten dollars worth of Elliott Smith in the jukebox, I’d alphabet flash stories that she’d type up after. She was around for twenty-ish tattoos. She stopped me from dying once. She was around when I really needed someone to be around. A fix for a fix, but we were close and had fun. So, yeah, when she left, the tagging stopped.
Anyway, we’re tagging again, Lauren’s off to a spectacular start. Tonight, I go for another tattoo, and then and then and then…1 comment
So, the last two posts are some nonsense, but it’s grammatically correct nonsense. I’m just trying to write, anything. Elliott Smith has this song, New Monkey, and the one line that always really gets me goes, “got a whole lot of empty time left to go, now you’ve gotta’ fill it with something…” Then it ends, “Anything is better than nothing…” It’s a very autobiographical song, a big theme is the idea of being unhappy, being fucked up, but writing anyway. He was a musician, but his songs are often about writing. I see him as a writer, his writing is tattooed all over me.
Anyway, I’m trying to fill that empty time, and trying to be me again.No comments