Sunday, August 07, 2005

I took the kids and my niece Maggie to the X Games a couple of days ago. We hoped to see the Women's Street Skate Finals, but the stands were full by the time we got there; we were able to watch the Men's Vert Skate Finals, though--it was very exhilarating. The kids were thrilled with all the free samples (Power Bars! Mountain Dew! Deodorant!) And I got a temporary tattoo--a green and orange one on my bicep, that seems to say The X Waste (I got it at the Recycling Store, where you can turn in bottles and cans for goodies).

Seeing it on my skin reminded me that the only time I've been tempted to get a real tattoo was when I first heard of Shelley Jackson's Skin Project. Reading about it now, I'm feeling very tempted again. Jackson has written a 2,095 word story; she wants 2,095 people to each have a single word from the story tattooed on their bodies. She's up to 1780 participants. The only place the story will exist is on these bodies. And from the time they receive the tattoos, "participants will be known as 'words'. They are not understood as carriers or agents of the texts they bear, but as its embodiments." I love this idea so much, being an embodiment of a word. I always go on and on about the connection between writing and the body--here Jackson explores that in a very tangible way. And in looking around her website, I discovered this amazing hypertext, "My Body", where you can click on different parts of a drawing of her body and read stories connected to those parts ("I was a scholar of legs, carrying on my investigations down on the bricks or flagstones, among the grown-ups' feet. Here I am with my jacks, my tops, my patterns in the dirt. Around me are the tree-trunks of legs, with their tropical growths, the parasitic vines of their varicose veins, the gorgeous locoweed of burst blood vessels...") I am swooning over all of it; I think I'm in the throes of a major artist crush. If I go ahead with the tattoo, it will be like inscribing a heart with the name "Shelley" inside it into my flesh.

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