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Tattoos

Comedian Paul Church Shares His Story of Healing Thanks to a Tattoo

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With the help of Pen & Ink by Wendy MacNaughton and Isaac Fitzgerald, we realized that every tattoo—good or bad, funny or tragic—has a story to tell. In our Personal Ink column, we connect you with artists, their tattoos and the unique stories behind them. This month, we’re hearing from comedian Paul Church. Church is a Vermont based comedian and the producer of the podcast, The Other Day with Paul Church, where he interviews his fellow comedians about local food spots. In his own words, here’s the story behind Church’s gingko leaf tattoo: When someone asks me about my tattoo (which is rare as the tattoo sits on my thigh where neither sunlight or the gaze of strangers often reach) the…

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Doug Robertson, aka The Weird Teacher, Explains his Tattoo

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In our monthly column, Personal Ink, we explore the tattoos that writers and artists put on their bodies. There’s always a story behind their ink, whether happy, sad or filled with disapproving parents. This month, we’re featuring Doug Robertson. Robertson is the editor of CUE, and a 10th-year teacher. He’s written two books on education, He’s the Weird Teacher and THE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome). He’s also well known as the “Weird Teacher” on Twitter, where he moderates #WeirdEd every Wednesday at 7 pm PST. In his own words, here’s the story of his tattoo: Being a lifeguard was the most important thing I did as a teenager. I grew up in Palmdale, California, and loved the water. I could…

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Personal Ink: Tattoos of the Lovebirds Who Almost Didn’t Meet

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It’s once again time for Personal Ink—our monthly column where we showcase authors and the tattoos that grace their skin. A tattoo is never just a careless image: whether sentimental or silly, it’s always an expression of the person behind the ink. This month we’re featuring two writers, Kassi Underwood and Mike Murphy. Kassi has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic Online, Al Jazeera America, and Guernica. Mike studied nonfiction and is currently teaching high school in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The fellow authors met at the prestigious Columbia MFA program, where their love of writing helped bring them together. Now they’re getting married at the end of July and their matching tattoos have become part of their story.…

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Rites of Passage author Joy N. Hensley shares her Personal Ink

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After reading Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them, we quickly realized that tattoos are never just an image printed on your skin. Whether sentimental or quirky, tattoos are an expression of self that always tells a unique story. In our monthly column, Personal Ink, we explore tattoos belonging to writers and illustrators, giving you a unique insight into the stories behind the art on their skin. For June, we’re featuring young adult author Joy N. Hensley. Hensley is the author of Rites of Passage, published by Harper Teen in 2014. Her novel follows Sam McKenna, a 16-year-old who’s determined to be the first girl to graduate from the elite Denmark military school. Called an “absorbing read” and…

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Personal Ink: Adrian Van Young’s “quoth the raven” tattoo story

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Whether it’s a decision based on love or tequila, a tattoo remains on your skin forever. Inspired by the book Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them, our monthly column, Personal Ink, showcases the art that illustrators and authors have decided to permanently display on their bodies. In their own words, they let us in on the secrets and stories behind their tattoos, sharing how the images relate to both their lives and their work. This month we’re featuring Adrian Van Young, author of the short story collection The Man Who Noticed Everything, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award. His first novel, Shadows in Summerland, is forthcoming in 2016 from ChiZine Publications, and his work has appeared…

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Author Tessa Gratton discusses her Personal Ink

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Welcome to our third addition of Personal Ink, a monthly column where we showcase tattoos of authors and illustrators. Originally inspired by the book Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them, this series explores the relationship between creative people and the art they chose to permanently place on their bodies. Whether it’s a meaningful decision or spontaneous mistake, every tattoo tells a unique story. We’re bringing those stories straight to you, told through the eyes of the writers and artists who lived them. For this month, we’re excited to feature young adult author Tessa Gratton and the ravens that grace her back. Gratton is the author of six books for young readers, including The United States of Asgard…

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Author Casey Plett tells the story behind her Personal Ink

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There is always a story behind a tattoo. Whether an image was motivated by love, family, or just too much tequila, tattoos become meaningful the moment they appear on your skin. As an author, I always knew I wanted to get a tattoo that represented my work —and a few years ago, I finally did. I was recently inspired by the beautiful book Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton to share that story with all of you. After that post, we here at BookTrib discovered that many other authors and illustrators have amazing tattoos and experiences that inspired them. It seems a shame not to share such unique stories and images…

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The art of the tattoo: memories that run skin-deep

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When I got my first tattoo, I remember sitting in a shop in the East Village, trying not to shake as the artist traced the pattern on my skin. It was the third time I made her reposition the swallows on my foot, and while I was afraid of being that person, I knew perfect placement was more important than being liked. The buzz of the machine started and the needle hit my skin. It hurt. The only way to describe it is to imagine being stung by electrified bees over and over in the same spot. It should have turned me off to the experience forever, but as anyone with a tattoo knows, once the seal is broken all…

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Ten lyrical and lovely literary tattoos

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You have to really love something to get it tattooed on your body. And I mean really love something — once it’s in your skin, that ink isn’t going anywhere. Even if you get it removed, there will always be a scar. Because of their permanence, tattoos can be a scary endeavor. But I can’t think of anything more worthy of permanent ink than something from my favorite novel. Certain books and quotes stay with you for a lifetime—so why not wear them forever on your skin? Luckily, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Here are ten literary tattoos that inspire us (or maybe just fill us with extreme tattoo-envy):   Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel…

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The art of the ink

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“Um, I think they are in the New Age section.” “Somewhere in the Cultural Studies section.” “They are mixed in, it’s a tiny subsection.” In this Manhattan Barnes & Noble, books on tattoos are not prominently displayed at the front, or anywhere, in the store. Employees, two of which have visible tattoos, make guesses and vaguely gesture in the general direction where they might be found.  It was easy to understand the confusion. The books were scattered in the “Cultural Studies” section (across from “New Age”), which in itself was an odd assortment of titles that didn’t deserve their own subheading. Titles like Tattoo Sourcebook, and 1000 Biker Tattoos, full of skulls and roses and images of generic tattoos one…

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