Body art is like memoir. Wearable, life long memoir. Tattoos are visual story tellers. They speak in pictures of what lies beneath the skin. View someones tattoo and you have a window into their soul, even if that soul has morphed or evolved dramatically since the art was inked. At some point that tattoo was their life in a portrait.
Not all tattoos are beautiful or even G rated. Perhaps that's why I love them. Many are like the scars of the heart, seen by the naked eye. Tattoos are evidence of living. Like intimate history texts, or photographic diaries. They represent struggles, wars, hopes and dreams or even just drunken nights. It is why I can forgive a skull with a knife through its eye and why I understand the cartoon dancing pig or even the well endowed red hair woman wearing more smile than anything else. Tattoos are evidence. Life happened to these people. Not all of it was pretty. And that's why I think tattoos have value. I agree, they are not for every one, but tattoos are memoir. And here in lies my fascination.
As a writer of memoir people often tell me they don't read my genre. I beg to differ. They do. Everyone reads memoir, they just don't see themselves as readers of personal stories. Perhaps they aren't able to interpret those stories, but they are there to be read. Anyone who has a relationship with another human is reading memoir. Body language is memoir, conversation is memoir, paintings, photographs, love letters, any letters, any time we show ourselves to another person in any capacity we reveal who we are. And that is memoir. In the broad sense of the word, it is personal narrative.
Memoir is everywhere in our world. Personal narratives are constantly on display. Tattoos if you will, of life and living, in all its brazen glory. If you are a writer like me, you are likely as fascinated by people as you are words. As taken by interpreting memoir as you are creating your own fictional landscapes.
The power of well written memoir is that the reader is more acutely aware of the intimacy they are sharing. And the better the writing the more mind blowing that intimacy is, and the more profound what we, the reader, are able to take from it. The authors of great memoir give us something fiction cannot. Real life. But more than that, it is the meaning and purpose of real life through another's eye. Memoir is a walk in another humans' shoes, or perhaps a walk in another humans' soul.
Like tattoos, memoir is human narrative that will be with us for life. Memoir is the imprint of living which we leave for future generations. May your memoir count. Your tattoo be something you want to live with, and your memoir reading be as wide and varied as life itself.