Walking down a street Neil Gaiman encounters his own words tattooed on the shoulder of a woman… I can only imagine how odd/thrilling/intriguing/eery that would feel!
I wandered past sushi shops and backpacker places and Thai takeways and tobacconists in the hot Sydney summer evening sun. Last night Amanda (who is vastly amused by my complete lack of hooker recognition skills) had pointed out the hookers to me, and I saw a couple of the ladies she had pointed out to me coming on duty, looking wary in the daylight.
There were a couple - a man and a woman, both in their twenties at a guess, both shorter than I am and dark-haired, looking into a shop window, with their backs to me. The woman had a tattoo on her shoulderblade - writing - and because I cannot pass writing without reading it, I glanced at it. Part of the writing was covered by a strap.
But I could still read it. And I knew what the words covered by the strap were.
The tattoo was a lot like this (which is to say, the same content, and similar typeface, but probably not the same person. I’m already trying to remember if it was the left or the right shoulderblade):
I read the tattoo, read words I had written to try and exorcise my own small demons eighteen years ago, and I felt like a ghost. As if, for a moment, under the hot Sydney sun, I was only an idea of a person and not a real person at all.
I didn’t introduce myself to her or say anything (it didn’t even occur to me to say hello, in all honesty). I just walked home, through a world that felt flimsier and infinitely stranger than it had that morning.
I don’t know why it affected me like that. But it did.
- from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections
“Fear of Falling”
Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.
If I’m going to put words on my body, I want people to be able to read it easily and understand it. This phrase truly speaks to me. It inspires me every time I read it, and I want it to inspire other people too. I decided to have it tattooed on my body so everyone I meet, whether Sandman fan or not, could draw inspiration from it as I have. :)