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New tattoo


Well folks, I finally went and did it: added more ink to my tattoo, a little bit of beauty and balance to accompany the truth. I’ve been thinking about this on and off since the original emet/truth was inscribed, mostly because one of the letters was a tad screwed up. I was willing to live with this small mistake (after all, no one’s perfect), but then the bald truth started to get to me, just sitting there all obvious, taunting me, making me uneasy on occasion. When you’ve got the word truth on your right forearm, the arm with which you write. it can get to be a bit much.

I started to mildly wimp & freak out a year ago. I didn’t regret my decision to get inked, but I did wonder if being so damned blunt was the best way to proceed. After some months, I passed into the drawing on my arm stage, imagining how I might pretty the whole thing up. Vines came to me first, then flowers (even though I actually don’t like flowers). Then squiggles and spirals and hamsas, hours of imagining colors and shapes — and finally, I called in a professional: Dina Verplank at Voluta Tattoo in Indianapolis.

The design took about 90 minutes. Dina and I talked, and she drew, erased, drew, and erased with a finger on her iPad (seriously, it was a technological trip) until we had a lovely tree, with its spiraling roots next to the beginning aleph and the curvy branches reaching out beyond the ending tav. As a shape, the spiral calls to me: it captures the dialectic of life moving first this way, then that, around and around. As for the tree… well, I happen to love forests, but really this is about the Tree of Life, i.e., the Torah, i.e., she is a tree of life to those who hold her fast and all of her supporters are happy... That, and the tree of the knowledge of good & evil in the Garden, a tree that really is about the truth when you come right down to it.

So, drumroll please and ignore the weird white star-like dots on the photograph. It’s a plastic cutting board.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah Rubin permalink
    11/29/2010 1:44 am

    It’s beautiful!
    I’ve been wondering where your tattoo musings would take you. I think the tree is a marvelous solution.

    And the cutting board, with its stars, is somehow a fitting background.

    • sue swartz permalink*
      11/29/2010 10:39 am

      Re: the stars. Yes, very covenantal, as numerous as the stars and all…

  2. 11/29/2010 9:31 am

    Beautiful, Sue!

  3. Laura Z permalink
    11/29/2010 6:53 pm

    I love that the truth sprouted and grew branches up your arm ! Thanks for sharing the journey.

    • sue swartz permalink*
      11/29/2010 8:12 pm

      I love the idea of the truth sprouting. I may steal this line for a future poem…

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