Today when you think of tattoos, you don’t automatically assume what many of our parents did – that they’re reserved for bikers and military types (think cartoon Popeye with the anchors on his forearms). People from all walks of life wear them now as art, and as expressions of love, loss, and remembrance. They express themselves and their passions, no matter how weird or geeky, through their tattoos. Some wear bold, intricate sleeves while others choose more modest designs that can be concealed beneath business suits or jeans. Tattoos today can be true works of art, involving hours of meticulous detail and several sessions of sitting through the willingly incurred pain of the needle. Johnny Depp said it best, “My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.” This third installment of our Geeks With Ink series features submissions from Blanca, Cat, Mara-Lee, Meg, Nicole, Scotty, Sara, Christian and Emily who share their love of literature on their skin.

Blanca - Harry Potter
“It’s the Marauders Map from Harry Potter. It got it because I thought it was a great representation of the Harry Potter series all together without being Harry’s face, haha. And I also thought it was cute and playful and just a little provocative.” – Blanca

Cat - 42
“42 is a tribute to Douglas Adams Hitchhiker series, and is there to remind me that sometimes we just aren’t asking the right questions. We can find answers to the big questions when we do, but sometimes the answers aren’t what we’d expect…” – Cat

Cat - Alice cat
“I go by Cat, and I’m allergic to cats. I’m more of a dog personality (i.e. not slinky or catty, but friendly, clumsy and forthright) so everyone comments on my name. Then I explain that I’m a Cheshire cat because “we’re all mad here” and when I disappear I hope to leave behind a grin.” – Cat

Mara-Lee - Harry Potter
“This is the “Mickey Hallows.” It was designed by my friend Melanie with help (unbeknownst to me) from her best friend Hal as the symbol for Harry Potter Day at Disneyland. The coordinates are for where my daughter was born (less nerdy). Bonus: I met Hal at Harry Potter Day a year after I got the tattoo, and this past Sunday he proposed to me…. With a ring inside a Half Blood Prince book. So, it got more meaningful after the fact!” – Mara-Lee

Meg - Hitchhiker
“It is the green planet dude off the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. I got it to memorialize my favorite author, book series, and the book that ignited my passion for reading. Intrigued by the funny little planet on the cover of the book, I began to read it when I was FAR too young to be appropriately reading Douglas Adams. I LOVED it and devoured the entire series. This led to other science fiction, which just led to reading, which led to getting a bachelor’s in English, which led to more reading, which inevitably led to this run-on sentence.” – Meg

Nicole - Harry Potter
“This is my tattoo tribute to my fave Harry Potter character: Severus Snape. Open potions book in front of a Gryffindor red potion with a Lily, his initials on the bottle, a black wand propped up and casting a doe patronus. I figure, those who get it will get it, and those who don’t will just keep asking why I have a kangaroo on my leg.” – Nicole

Scotty - Alice
“The appeal of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland lies in its abstraction, and perhaps no character in the Western canon is quite so nebulous as the Cheshire Cat. In a discussion with Alice (page 88 in the original Annotated Alice), Alice remarks that she doesn’t want to ‘go around mad people,’ to which the Cat replies: ‘Oh, you can’t help that… we’re all mad here.’ This passage has always resonated with me, and I try to be acutely conscious of it whenever melancholia rears its ugly head. It’s important to remember that we’re all complex, confused, and at the end of the day– just a little effed up.” – Scotty

Scotty - Sandman
“Neil Gaiman has reached extraordinary literary heights since his humble debut in 1984, but his Sandman sequence will undoubtedly be his magnum opus. (The original run ran from 1989 to 1996.) Summing up the 75-odd issues of Gaiman’s masterwork is no mean feat, but it’s essentially about beings known as the Endless, who are anthropomorphic personifications of universal aspects (e.g., Death, Dream, Destiny, Destruction, Despair, Desire, and Delirium.) Throughout the series, Gaiman intertwines the epic goings-on of the titular character with those of his dysfunctional brothers and sisters, and it makes for a reading experience like no other; and of all the Endless, I’ve always had a fondness for Death. She is pragmatic, nurturing, and witty, and serves as a constant reminder that for all her omniscience and Gothic pageantry, she isn’t to be feared.” – Scotty

Sara D - Divergent Amity
“The Amity symbol from the book Divergent with a little reminder to breathe underneath. I just liked the Amity faction and how they functioned.” – Sara

Christian - Outlander
“I started reading the Outlander series just about a month ago. I fell in love with the series instantly and felt quite the connection with it. I’m currently about halfway through the fourth book. Shortly after I began the series, I had a major surgery. During my recovery, my husband, who suffers from bipolar disorder had to be hospitalized. We had been planning a vow renewal that was called off. I am a full time caretaker for my grandparents with dementia. This renewal held such an important place. Losing it was difficult to say the least. I could continue listing the daily drama that is my life, but suffice it to say, my plate is very full. Through this past month, the series has served as my escape, my life raft. I had a connection in the books I didn’t have in the outside world. The Scottish clan motto of the main character, Jamie, is “Je suis prest.” I am ready. As I was reading in the fourth book, Jamie runs across a wild strawberry plant and explains this is his clan’s symbol as well. The white flower standing for honor, the red fruit for courage, the green leaves for constancy. I sort of had a literary epiphany while reading that. I am ready. Ready to get back out. Ready to face these dramatic turns in my life and to do so with honor, courage and constancy. The twists and turns of my life seemed oddly parallel to those in the book. A similar range of emotions. It just fit.” – Christian

“I got this tattoo for two reasons: 1) I grew up with Harry Potter. I got the first book when I was about 6 or 7 and the last book came out on my 15th birthday. The books were always there when I was bored or lonely or needed a distraction, and the lessons I learned from them helped with all the pain and awkwardness that is growing up. 2) I chose the Deathly Hallows specifically because of what they represent to me. It was not so much the idea of immortality that appealed to me as it was the idea of being able to conquer anything, but only if you aren’t greedy or or evil of selfish.” – Emily

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