The Word Made Flesh

I ran across this site somewhere on the internet, probably via my current addiction, pinterest: The Word Made Flesh, www.tattoolit.com, is just photos of tattoos that people have gotten that either are text or reference a piece of text. Some of them include short descriptions from the people on why they chose the tattoos. (Also, the site is mostly, but not entirely, safe for work; some of the tattoos get a tad intimate.)

The tattoos themselves are of varying quality, but I find the whole site really interesting for a number of reasons:

  • I love reading about what pieces of writing have really impacted a person’s life. (Some of them even make me a little misty-eyed, especially when it is clear that the person is using the tattoo as a visible reminder of recovery.)
  • It is super interesting to see which texts pop up over and over again (Catcher in the Rye, of course, lots of Kurt Vonnegut and e. e. cummings, and just tons of The Little Prince)
  • It is additionally interesting to read about someone being so inspired by a piece of text that I have also read but completely shrugged off. What is it about those books that just connected to these people and not to me? (My eventual mild enjoyment of the one Kurt Vonnegut book I have read is nowhere close to the adulation people feel for that same book, and I simply don’t get it.)
  • Some people have tattoos that I consider a little ridiculous (perhaps when you are a young adult, you shouldn’t get a Harry Potter tattoo until you’ve seen if it will continue to be such an impact in your adult life,* and that goes double for A Series of Unfortunate Events), while some people are just way, way cooler than me (the full-color pelvic tattoo of Aubrey Beardsley’s illustration of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, which is also the tattoo that kicked off this website and the photograph of which is totally NSFW)
  • Placement of tattoos is also important (an Ayn Rand quote on the upper thigh seems like it might be a bit of a turn off)

After wasting entirely too much time on the site, I have to say, though, that whatever my thoughts on the tattoos themselves, it just makes me happy to see all these people so inspired by such a range of books.

—Anna

*On the other hand, I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter, having started the series well out of college, and I’m told by my much younger cousins that it is a whole different experience reading each book as roughly the same age as Harry, which I guess I can see.

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