By the Skin of Our Aphorisms…

Aphorisms are everywhere, not just in books but carved into buildings and monuments, scrawled on bathroom walls, slapped onto car bumpers and emblazoned across t-shirts and baseball caps—and they are branded onto the skin. In The Word Made Flesh, a piece on literary tattoos that’s part of the special report on Aphorisms, Proverbs, Thoughts and Sayings, Mark Lewis writes: “You need not be a celebrity [like Angelina Jolie] to have your exposed skin admired on the Internet. The hoi polloi can share images of their literary tattoos with Toronto photographer Jen Grantham, who displays them on her blog,”

Contrariwise is worth a look/read for some of the words of wisdom made flesh there, including the mordantly defiant and utterly inspirational:

Defy gravity

which is Kat’s tattoo, from the play Wicked, which she says she wanted “from the moment the show let out, as a reminder to just go for it in life and not let anyone or anything hold me down.”

Then there is Stellar’s tattoo, an even darker take on the defying gravity theme, from Rilke’s Duino Elegies:

Be ahead of all departure.

And then there is the simple word “Unless”, tattooed on the forearm as a reminder of the Dr. Seuss line from The Lorax:

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.