I have news for you, my lovely readers.

Take a look at this!

I met a snake this weekend on spring break!

But that's not the point, obviously.

I have a tattoo!

A goodbye glance at my naked arm.

The process: after I finally decided I did, in fact, want a tattoo, I spoke with many inked friends for advice. I researched artists in my area and discovered Craig Moorman at Delta Ink on Instagram. His line work was exactly the style I wanted. I sketched my design idea over and over (I'm definitely not called to pencil sketching) until I came up with a rough version of the vision in my head. I met Craig at the studio, showed him my drawing, and scheduled an appointment. He drew a much, much better design that looked exactly like I imagined.

During the process (the purple lines are the stencil.)

The tattoo itself only took about an hour. (And yes, it did kind of hurt, but not nearly as much as everyone thinks. Mostly I just lost feeling in my left leg from leaning over for an hour.)

Getting further along...

The black and gray line art design features two stacked books and one open book. A crown rests on the closed books, and a bow and arrow are propped against the pages of the open book. A small sparrow in solid black flies above the open book, standing out against a faint backdrop of delicate clouds. Each of the three main pieces — bow and arrow, bird, crown — symbolizes one of my favorite and most influential books.

The final product, fresh out of the studio! (and very puffy and red)
The bow and arrow are a reference to the Hunger Games series. I know it was a huge franchise and is a passed fad for many people now, but it held a lot of meaning to me. It was my favorite series for a few years, and the books had so much to teach about the impact of war on winners and losers alike, about love and loss, about PTSD and mental illness, about hunger and poverty, about wealth and greed. Those books are powerful.

Admiring it in my dorm room a short time later.
The sparrow is a nod to a line from Jane Eyre. There are no symbols — no Mockingjays or faction tattoos or iconic cover designs — in many classic books like there are in the big teen series of today, but I wanted something for Jane. "I am no bird, and no net ensnares me," she told Mr. Rochester as she declared her independence and autonomy, asserting herself as his equal.

The crown is the most direct reference. I hand-copied the design from the out-of-print 1984 illustrated children's novel The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye. The beautiful little story, written in the 50s and published in the 80s, was revolutionary for the time. Amy, the seventh princess of Phantasmorania, receives the gift of Ordinariness at her christening and grows up with mousy brown hair, freckles, and an upturned nose. As her parents cook up ridiculous schemes to fool any prince into marrying their plain daughter, she runs away to live a carefree life in the forest. She winds up working as a kitchen maid in a neighboring kingdom and makes some wonderful friends.

Partially healed and starting to peel...
I have a solid idea for the next tattoo, but it will be a (long) while before I get that one. You'll just have to wait and see!

The before and after!


  1. Nice bit of ink. (I could never one myself 'cos a) I'm a wimp and b) I'd probably change my mind.) But as I said it's a nice bit of ink, and an interesting story behind it as well.

    1. Thank you! My whole life I've said I had a "low pain tolerance" until some events in college proved that wasn't really as true as I once thought. And I know a lot of my interests won't last forever, but books are a constant in my life, and these books in particular have been favorites of mine for several years, so I figure if anything will last for me, it will be stories like these.


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