I Am Pleased to Inform You That Someone Now Has a Tattoo Inspired by You and/or Your Work, by Molly Bradley

Dear Author,

Congratulations! You must have done something right, because something you wrote has inspired someone to imprint an excerpted portion, representation, allusion, or overt reference to it on a part of their body, to remain there forever.

Please do appreciate what it means for a person to go ahead and do this. For one, the kind of person who would get a tattoo of a literary nature is surely a voracious reader. This person has read countless words that he or she did not deem fit to emblazon permanently on his or her person, probably because they were not moving enough or too trite or even too commonly tattooed on other people, other people who are not such discriminate readers.

Then this person read your words, and was like, Wow, I feel very strongly that these words should be injected into my skin in Black Buddha 100% ULTRA BLACK Tattoo Ink (Darkest). Probably because your words were, conversely, not at all trite, but rather a spectacular and singular combination of nouns, verbs, pronouns, articles, conjunctions, and possibly even adjectives (though probably not adverbs, if the person is an avid reader, because s/he knows better) that expressed a sentiment that could be either totally unique or wholly universal.

Perhaps the words you wrote that this person now sports on his or her wrist/ankle/inner arm/thigh/rib/at sort of an angle between his/her left earlobe and neck, because the back of the neck is sort of overdone, are words whose meaning, strung together, is immediately apparent and accessible to anyone who sees the tattoo, inspiring a sense of community even among those who haven’t read your words, who perhaps don’t read at all, who perhaps may not even bother to read the words on the body part in question on the person in question and assume, cutting to the chase much more swiftly and simply, that this person has experienced something so extremely profound that s/he was endowed with the spiritual strength to allot a significant portion of a paycheck toward an hour or two spent in an uncomfortable position semi-clothed before a burly yet well-groomed man with a handlebar mustache and forearm piercings hammering a thinnish needle into his/her skin.

You should really feel good about this.

Or perhaps the words you wrote that this individual got tattooed on his or her person are, instead, cryptic and mysterious, evoking a cultish community consisting only of people who would Get It, or at least Get that they don’t Get what the person with the tattoo, and of course you, Get, but they can still Get It in their own particular way,and people who don’t Get It and who assume, close-mindedly and rather prudishly, that this person has erred in going and getting an incomprehensible phrase carved into his/her skin because s/he may one day forget or cease to care about what s/he Got that made him/her get the tattoo in the first place.

Hopefully the words you wrote that this person got tattooed are at least vague enough that a morphed meaning can be reascribed to them later. The authors of the following catchphrases are stellar exemplars of such versatile tattoo-worthy words:

“So it goes.” “It” can be anything. And “it” can always be “going” in some manner, or in some direction, depending on what “it” is. Something is probably always going somewhere.

“To see a world in a grain of sand.�� Perhaps the tattooee chose this in a moment of optimism and with an attitude of infinite possibility. Perhaps this person may someday feel a little less optimistic about things. Nevermind: someone else is probably seeing a world in a grain of sand, sprawled on a towel drinking a Corona Light on a beach somewhere. Note the lack of a defined subject in the phrase. As long as someone is feeling that sense of fortuity, this is workable.

“Yes I said yes I will yes.” There’s about a 50/50 chance at any given moment that the bearer of this tattoo will be feeling more “yes” than “no.”

If you’ve not yet read these authors’ work, you probably should. They may move you to the point of getting their work, or at least an abstruse reference to them, tattooed somewhere on your own person. Now that would be the ultimate seal of approval. Do a good deed and tattoo the work of a fellow author on yourself. Perhaps s/he’ll return the favor.

Congratulations again, and best of luck in penning further words that someone might read and think, You know what, this would look ideal running the length of my instep, because though “so we beat on, boats against the current” is a water metaphor and my foot will mostly only travel on land, it’s still transport-related, so it makes more sense than anywhere else on my body, I guess.


The Artistic Validation Committee.

Molly Bradley currently resides in New York City, where she writes, teaches, and edits Klipspringer Magazine and Carbon Culture Review. Her writing has appeared on The Equals RecordThe Toast, and Defenestration Magand she tweets at unpredictable intervals at @mollyguinn.

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