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My First Tattoo


Tattoo Q&A

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005 - 8:34 a.m.

I received a couple of really good questions about my tattoo in an email yesterday from Terry, who is one of my recently-acquired but now-regular readers. I wrote him a long answer, which he appreciated, and he suggested I use it as the basis for a post.

So I'm a gonna do that right now. :-)


>>Which entry in your blog did you explain all about
>>what inspired you to get that particular tattoo?
>>Or why permanently etch it on to your body?

Good questions!...

It's been coming on for quite a while now, so there are numerous posts which sort of combine to tell the story...

I first began considering getting ink done a little over two years ago.: I had a 'classic' phoenix design picked out, but only as a reference.

Then my grandmother passed away and I spent over a year dealing with that, but even at the post-memorial meal there at her home on the 10th of October, 2003, I remember telling my sister-in-law what I wanted and why. I told her I'd been considering a phoenix tattoo for a very long time for a myriad of reasons: When I was seventeen, I had a life-threatening illness called ulcerative colitis. Worldwide, ulcerative colitis kills about 75% of the people who have it. I have been VERY lucky considering I went to code on the operating table, and again a couple of days after the surgery. The symbol for people who have endured this disease and survived it and grown healthy again is the phoenix.

Another factor is that I have been and will forever be a fan of the soap opera Days Of Our Lives. About fifteen or years ago, there was a really good storyline featuring a mysterious stranger with a phoenix tattoo on his left shoulder. I really enjoyed that story arc.


On the first day of Spring, 2005, my friend JJ went to get a tattoo she'd agree to get in order to participate in a story project in which several thousand people were to be tattooed with an individual word in the story, and then send their pictures of the finished words to the author, who would publish them in a book. I sponsored her tattoo, went with her to watch her get the work done -- and that's where I met the artist who eventually did my work, James Faggiano. That afternoon, I decided that I would be back before the year's end, and that James would be the one I wanted to do the deed. James has a very good sense of humor and when he was done with JJ's work, he helped me play a joke on John.


Near the end of the summer this year, and on into fall, I began looking in earnest online for a phoenix design I could relate to. There were several very close approximations, especially a design provided by my friend Todd Thalimer, of a logo for a band he used to be in. It was a faceless phoenix with the wings in the shape of a circle. But nothing was one hundred percent right, and that's what I needed it to be before it became permanent.

I didn't find anything I liked online, so finally, I just printed out some homemade graph paper and circles and ovals and twiddled around with those and drew the head of the phoenix freehand and added the equilateral triangle from a font set.

Perhaps the most comprehensive explanation of why I have obtained a phoenix tattoo can be found here. I even decided on the day I wanted it done, for a specific reason.

And finally, of course, I went and had it done on November 4, 2005.


As for why I wanted something permanent -- I have already surived a car accident that has left me disfigured. My abdomen is scarred, some of my front teeth are false, I have puncture wounds on the inside of both elbows from where the vampires at the hospital were compelled to draw blood up to six times in a day -- in other words, even though I am still alive and would not be so but for the scarring I have endured -- there have been alterations of my body that have been negative and not of my choice.

This tattoo was a *positive* alteration, that I have deliberately chosen to do for myself, and that I think is pretty nice.

Hope that was an answer to the questions.


And thanks for letting me seed this entry with the text of the email I sent to you, Terry. Very kind of you to suggest it.


I think that's it. Have a good Thursday!


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