Putting the ink in ‘Ink for Blood’

I’ve wanted a tattoo since I was 17 years old. For years, I pondered what I should get; for the longest time, I thought I’d get a sunflower  since they’re my absolute favorite flower. Then I toyed with the idea of a dragon or perhaps the Gemini sign, since I’m a Gem through and through. Then I thought maybe I’d get some lyrics, but could never really come up with the perfect line I’d want on my person for the rest of my life.
In the post linked above, I name check Dylan (silly, 2011 Nikki!), but I think we all know said lyrics will now and forever be from Nick Cave.

Then one day, I got a quill-written “thank you” note from a bookbinder named Stitch who I had interviewed. Meeting, speaking to and writing about Stitch was one of the greatest moments I’ve ever had career-wise, and the article remains one of my favorites to this day. Stitch’s note, though, has become one of my most cherished keepsakes. It’s not that often that we journalists ever get a “thank you,” much less one written in ink via a quill and sealed with wax with its writer writing, “May your quill never run dry.”

Those words, written just about two years ago, always stuck with me, until one day it hit me: My tattoo was to be — had to be, really — a quill pen with the words “May my quill never run dry.”

Now that that was finally all figured out, all I had to do was work up my nerve and get over my fear of needles/pain and go for it. A few weeks back, when the fella decided he was ready for his next tattoo, I made an appointment for him at Marc’s Tattooing in Wilkes-Barre, a shop I had worked with for years during my time at the Weekender, and the only place I knew I’d trust when it was time for me to get mine. After making his appointment, I immediately called back and booked my own appointment, and knew the fella and Marc’s shop manager, my friend Crystal, would most certainly not let me cancel if and when my chickenshitery got the best of me.

Fast-forward through a few weeks of panic attacks and nightmares about the pain, and there I was sitting with my back to my artist, Liz, waiting for what I imagined to be nothing short of sheer torture.

Instead, though, just like everybody always told me, it wasn’t that bad. Sure, there were moments of pain during the two-hour sitting, especially during the shading process toward the end, but they were fleeting. And when I saw the finished product, I couldn’t believe how great it looked and how utterly perfect this tattoo is for me.

So, Stitch, wherever you may be, I hope you’re well, and I wish there was a way for me to give you a “thank you” back, to let you know just how much you’ve inspired me, even now two years after we spoke. May our paths cross again someday.

2014-03-15 20.58.58



About nikkimmascali

I am an editor, writer and New Yorker who has ink for blood and the blog name + tattoo to prove it. Also of note: I follow more dogs than people on Instagram. This is my blog about reading, writing and absolutely no 'rithmetic because I am horrendous at math.
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