A Story Inked on Skin

Over the winter I posted about Shelley Jackson’s project called Snow, in which she wrote words in the snow and photographed them one by one to create an ongoing story. But that isn’t the first time she’s explored new ways of storytelling.

Skin is a project that Jackson launched in 2003. She wrote a 2,095-word story, and then put out a call in Cabinet Magazine for people to tattoo one word of the story on themselves. She screened the people who responded, and gave those she approved a word, a contract to sign, and strict guidelines (you may not trade your assigned word for another, the word must be tattooed in black with no embellishments, etc.). There are now over 2,000 volunteers with one of Shelley Jackson’s words tattooed on their bodies, collectively creating a narrative.

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A Paw-Printed Page

If you’ve ever spent a cozy night cuddled up with a cat and a book, you know that the two just go together. And humans have been making their mark in books for thousands of years, so why shouldn’t cats? One medieval cat decided to take the matter into his own hands–er, paws–and become immortalized within the pages of a manuscript.

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Is Graffiti Good? A Look at the Runic Graffiti at Maeshowe

Runic graffiti at Maeshowe. Photo by Charles Tait, http://www.maeshowe.co.uk/maeshowe/runes.html

What comes to mind when you hear the word “graffiti”? Maybe spray-painted walls or pen-covered bathroom stalls? Graffiti is typically thought of as a rebellious act by young people looking to make a mark in a public place, but graffiti has existed for thousands of years. And while most graffiti is deemed damaging or degrading to the place in which it was written, we can actually learn a lot from the graffiti created people of the past.

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A Story in the Snow

Shelly Jackson snow story

Photograph by Shelly Jackson

One of the things I love most about writing is the variety of forms it can take. From being carved into stone, to stamped on paper by a printing press, to tattooed on the skin, there are so many mediums through which writing can be expressed. And each of these mediums affects how the story is read, who it is read by, and what it feels like. Author and illustrator Shelley Jackson has embraced the endless possibilities of the written word by taking storytelling to the snowy streets of Brooklyn.

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