Friday Words

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“A shop in port is safe but that’s not what ships are built for.”

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Friday Words


You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path.

– Steve Jobs

Tattoo Tuesday: Through Platform 9¾ and Down the Rabbit Hole of Literary Ink

Another Tuesday is here and I’ve had a lot of fun with the post that I put together. This week Tattoo Tuesday is focused on ink that references some classic contemporary American novels and poems.

Part of my summer bucket list was to reread the entire Harry Potter series (I’ve always been a major HP nerd). It’s one of my favorites, and after searching around on the Internet, I found countless tattoos from people who feel the same about the series.

Platform 9¾, where the  Hogwarts Express departs from King’s Cross railway station for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The sign of the Deathly Hallows represents all three objects symbolically: the Wand, the Stone, and the Cloak.

According to The Tale of the Three Brothers, the Peverell brothers evaded Death, who then gave them a choice of anything they wanted: the first brother chose a wand that could not be defeated in battle; the second asked for a way to bring back someone from the dead; and the third selected a cloak that made the wearer invisible, even to Death himself.

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that,” said Albus Dumbledore to Harry after explaining the Mirror of Erised.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” revealed in a black light, are the words to reveal the Marauder’s Map.
“Mischief managed,” the words to clear the Marauder’s Map.

 “Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers
are proud to present: THE MARAUDER’S MAP

Hogwarts Castle


Edgar Allan Poe
, an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, is best known for his tales of mystery and macabre. He was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!

– “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

– Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

– “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe

An excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The City in the Sea.”

I’ve always enjoyed Lewis Carroll‘s Alice in Wonderland. The following are some great Alice-inspired tattoos.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Alice didn’t think that proved it at all; however, she went on “And how do you know that you’re mad?”
“To begin with,” said the Cat, “a dog’s not mad. You grant that?”
“I suppose so,” said Alice.
“Well, then,” the Cat went on, “you see, a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags its tail when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry. Therefore I’m mad.”

– Excerpts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

“I could tell you my adventures — beginning from this morning,” said Alice a little timidly, “but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
“Explain all that,” said the Mock Turtle.
“No, no! The adventures first,” said the Gryphon in an impatient tone. “Explanations take such a dreadful time.”

– Excerpt from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Other great literary tattoos, inspired by children’s novels and contemporary classics:

Excerpts from Wallace Stevens’ “Poetry is a Destructive Force” surrounding the Little Dipper constellation.

That’s what misery is,
Nothing to have at heart.
It is to have or nothing.

It is a thing to have,
A lion, an ox in his breast,
To feel it breathing there.

Corazon, stout dog,
Young ox, bow-legged bear,
He tastes its blood, not spit.

He is like a man
In the body of a violent beast.
Its muscles are his own . . .

The lion sleeps in the sun.
Its nose is on its paws.
It can kill a man.

– “Poetry is a Destructive Force” by Wallace Stevens

The meaning and answer to life, the universe and everything.

“The Answer to the  Great  Question…”
“Yes …!”
“Of Life, the Universe and Everything …” said Deep Thought.
“Yes …!”
“Is …” said Deep Thought, and paused.
“Yes …!”
“Is …”
“Yes …!!!…?”
“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

– Excerpt from The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein
Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister Herbert
The illustrations by Brett Helquist for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (The Wide Window).
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

In Breakfast of Champions, Vonnegut uses the phrase “Goodbye Blue Monday” as a reaction to the absurdities of everyday life. He writes,

“The motto of the old Robo-Magic washing machine cleverly confused two separate ideas people had about Monday. One idea was that women traditionally did their laundry on Monday. Monday was simply washday, and not an especially depressing day on that account. People who had horrible jobs during the week used to call Monday ‘Blue Monday’ sometimes, though, because they hated to return to work after a day of rest. When Fred T. Barry made up the Robo-Magic motto as a young man, he pretended that Monday was called ‘Blue Monday’ because doing laundry disgusted and exhausted women. The Robo-Magic was going to cheer them up. It wasn’t true, incidentally, that most women did their laundry on Monday at the time the Robo-Magic was invented. They did it any time they felt like it.”

With the invention of the Robo-Magic washing machine, women could finally say goodbye to their blue Mondays forever.

“Off to the bridge club while my Robo-Magic does the wash! GOODBYE, BLUE MONDAY!”

Also in the novel, character Henry LeSabre paints “Goodbye Blue Monday” on the side of a bomb to be dropped on Hamburg, Germany. This corporation uses the slogan to manipulate women, just as our modern society use messages to manipulate us.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The phrase “so it goes” appears in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five 106 times.

“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”

– Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

The final line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Cover art for J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye

“Ask her if she still keeps all her kings in the back row,” Holden Caulfield tells Stradlader of Jane Gallagher in Catcher in the Rye.

This has much to do with Holden’s child-like nature and the general value that he has for innocence. Jane keeping her kings in the back was a safe way of playing, to the degree of not even playing really. Holden is therefore asking if she is still the innocent girl he once knew.

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.”

– Jean Louise (Scout) Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

The cover art for Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“Sam climbed in the back of the pickup, wearing nothing but her dance dress. She told Patrick to drive, and he got this smile on his face. I guess they had done this before…
Anyway, Patrick started driving really fast, and just before we got to the tunnel, Sam stood up, and the wind turned her dress into ocean waves. When we hit the tunnel, all the sound got scooped up into a vacuum, and it was replaced by a song on the tape player.
A beautiful song called “Landslide.”
When we got out of the tunnel, Sam screamed this really fun scream, and there it was.
Downtown. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder.
Sam sat down and started laughing. Patrick started laughing. I started laughing.
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.

– Charlie from Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower