I get easily distracted and don’t stick with many things. But aside from writing and publishing a novel, the thing I’ve talked longest about doing was getting a tattoo. Yesterday I finally did it. I was never afraid of the pain of a tattoo, I waited so long because I wanted my first tattoo to be special and significant. Early on, I told everyone I was getting a tattoo when I published my first novel. But as the years went on and I still hadn’t published a novel yet, the urge for a tattoo was still there. So about a year ago I really started to think proactively about it and investigate shops and artists and possible designs. And the design was always what tripped me up.
I wanted something special and significant to my art that was as on the nose as a pen or typewriter or anything like that. I finally had a breakthrough when I came across a note about a shop in Detroit that had a game day special and would do an old English D tattoo for $40 on game days. I loved the idea of the D. I’m a baseball fan and the novel I just sold is all about baseball and Detroit, but I loved how the D represented the city of Detroit beyond just it’s baseball team. I called the shop that ran the special but could never find the time to get downtown Detroit. Around this time I noticed a new tattoo shop had opened up around the corner from my house. That got me thinking about getting my tattoo closer to home. So yesterday during lunch when Becky had the day off, I decided that was the day I was going to do it. Without fail.
And this would be where the observant among you will notice that picture shows something other than a D on my arm. About that. When I got to the shop, the price quoted for a D the size I wanted was more than I was ready to pay for a first tattoo. That put the pressure on me to find a new design right then. I was already committed and had the money in hand so I started running through ideas, none of which I was ready to commit to. And then I remembered another idea I had. I’d long been considering a design that would incorporate the logos of my two pulp icons, Black Mask Magazine and Gold Medal Books. These were the stories and books that inspired me and freed me from the constraints of traditional mystery format and allowed me to write the book that would eventually be my first published novel. So I thought: Why not start with the simple part, the mask?
I showed the artists a few pics on my phone and after a while he came up with something I loved and the he got to work. The pain wasn’t too bad and reminded me more of a regular visit to the dentist (I have awful gums so it always hurts like hell when they go scraping) than anything else. I had the Book of Mormon soundtrack playing while he worked and I couldn’t be happier not only with the experience, but with doing something I’ve been talking about doing for so long.
Update: It seems there are a number of people who still think (or thought) this was fake, so here’s a close-up photo for you