My Literary Tattoo

Reading As I Lay Dying was arduous task; it isn’t the most gripping plot that you will ever read, the narrative shifts from character to character, and like much of Faulkner’s work, it is stylistically tricky. Yet, it is my favourite book of all time.

For me, Addie’s section in the book is what makes it a masterpiece. As I lay Dying is the story of Addie’s death and her family’s journey to honour her wishes to be buried in Jefferson. Addie is a flawed human being, but her thoughts on words and love struck me like nothing I’ve ever read before (I have written more about my thoughts on Addie’s section here).

I decided there and then to have a quote from that passage tattooed. Almost two years after deciding that this is what I wanted, I plucked up enough courage to get it done in January, in Edinburgh. I deliberated for weeks over the placing and font, and finally decided that I’d have it below my neck and in my own handwriting.

Once I had perfected the handwriting:

Tattoo handwriting

I got it done:


I still need to have it ‘touched up’, but I love it. Written in my own handwriting it is unique and entirely personal, and like Addie, flawed and imperfect.

The words are hers, but these imperfections are mine.

(The photograph above was taken by a talented friend of mine. Please do not use this image without my express permission)


10 thoughts on “My Literary Tattoo

  1. Beautiful. I love how meaningful the lines are, especially to you. I have a tattoo symbol for Anais Nin, and one day I’ll pick out the write words from Adrienne Rich to tattoo. Can I have you write them? I like your handwriting better than mine! lol.

  2. This is so awesome! We are reading As I Lay Dying for the Intro to Fiction class I’m teaching this term. In fact, we will read through the Addie and Whitfield sections for Tuesday. I may have to show my students this post!

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