This week I got a new tattoo surrounding an old tattoo, both done by the same artist, Joanne Martian. I hadn’t been to the shop she and her husband own, the wonderful Martian Arts Tattoo, but the process of getting the tattoo was very familiar. The stinging, nagging pain of it was familiar. The artist at the end of the table was familiar, hunched over my feet the way she has for all three of the tattoos she’s given me. The book lady is the first one I got six years ago while Joanne was still in training. The opposite leg sports a piece she did two years ago. This week Joanne gave the book lady a makeover and added some surrounding text. I already have ideas for the next one I want her to do. And maybe the one after that. I like this map of Joanne’s skill I carry on me. The older work doesn’t suffer in comparison with the new. It’s simply there, marking time.
The words now tattooed on my leg have been stuck in my brain for decades. It’s taken me that long to settle in and be sure of having them in my skin, but finally making the appointment and doing it isn’t exactly a new adventure. All I can say is I’m positive that I’m the only person with a tattoo of the last two lines of a William Meredith poem.
A Major Work
Poems are hard to read
Pictures are hard to see
Music is hard to hear
And people are hard to love
But whether from brute need
Or divine energy
At last mind eye and ear
And the great sloth heart will move.
I met another artist this week who works mostly in sculpture. I know a lot of artists, but no sculptors. I know a lot of people, but I’d never met this one. For an introvert such as myself, making a new friend should definitely count as a new adventure.
I went by myself to an open house he was having and had the opportunity to look closely at his work, admiring the details in a way I don’t often do with sculpture. Inside the studio, I chatted with a few strangers and felt my familiar, unbearable awkwardness. Nothing new there, I’m afraid. If I really want a challenge, talking with strangers and documenting it should be my next blog project. That would be suitably wonderful and terrifying, a good test of my great sloth heart.