Columns > Published on April 6th, 2012

LitInk: LitReactor's Literary Tattoo Showdown

About a week ago, we were gobsmacked when we saw the above tattoo, which was posted to the forum by jacks_username (real name: Dakota Taylor). I guess that makes us a big deal now, right? I asked Dakota why he permanently scarred this site's logo onto his forearm: 

The idea to get a LitReactor tattoo had been on my mind for a few months. It's really a homage to the online community. There are two things I love, and that is tattoos and books. When I added it up, it was an easy choice.

I've always been fascinated with tattoos that are inspired by literature. They tend to come from deep places--from words and works that have connected with people on such a profound level, they want to wear it in their skin.

I have four pieces. Two of them are inspired by literature:

The skull is from a Kurt Vonnegut sketch I found in Armageddon in Retrospect (though I redrew it in my style and with my handwriting). On my forearm is Dr. Manhattan's hydrogen atom, which is a celebration of three things: Science, one of my favorite books ever, and also getting a job where a forearm tattoo isn't taboo. 

I'm not the only staffer with literary ink. Here's my fellow columnist and news blogger Hanna Brooks Olsen

This is what Hanna said about her piece, which is on her ribcage:

In my family, tattoos are standard operating procedure--but they all have to mean something. Mine says "sometimes i take a great notion," which is both the inspiration to the title of my favorite book (Sometimes A Great Notion, by the incredible Ken Kesey, which, as a teen growing up in Eugene, Oregon, was required reading), and a line from what is probably one of the greatest songs in the American songbook, Goodnight Irene.

All this got me thinking: There are probably some people floating around here with some sweet ink.

And we just showed you ours. 

Now show us yours. 

The contest: 

Got some literary ink? Get bold. Post it. In one week, we're going to pick two winners--one male, one female. Tattoos will be judged on creativity, artistry, and general awesomeness. Your judges: Me, Dakota, and Hanna. 

How to enter:

Create a LitReactor account if you don't have one. Then, in the comments section, post a link to your tattoo, or upload a photo (you can't directly upload a photo to the site; it needs to be hosted elsewhere, like Flickr).

* If you're sharing from Facebook, and your account is set to private, we won't be able to see the photos. 

Show your face or don't, that's up to you. Explain the piece or don't, also up to you.

You can't win if you're a LitReactor staffer or instructor (though y'all are welcome to participate).

Each winner shall receive:

  • One LitReactor mug. Based on rigorous scientific testing, we've found they make coffee taste better.
  • A free eBook. My publishing house has offered to let each winner pick one free book from our lineup, in the format of your choice. Hop over to MysteriousPress.com to see what we have.
  • Six months membership to LitReactor. You'll get access to our fabled writing workshop, which includes a peer review system, exclusive craft essays, and sexy parties. If you're already a paying member, this will be added to your current subscription (or you may bequeath it upon someone).  

Get posting. And if you've been sitting on a tattoo idea for a while, you could always get it done this weekend. Think of all the glory you shall receive, on the internet. 

About the author

Rob Hart is the class director at LitReactor. His latest novel, The Paradox Hotel, will be released on Feb. 22 by Ballantine. He also wrote The Warehouse, which sold in more than 20 languages and was optioned for film by Ron Howard. Other titles include the Ash McKenna crime series, the short story collection Take-Out, and Scott Free with James Patterson. Find more at www.robwhart.com

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