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Pages and Files
Art of Racing in the Rain
Book of Lost Things
Chant to Soothe
Curious Incident 1
Curious Incident 2
Cutting for Stone
Devil in the White City
For the Win
Half a Life
The Help 2
In Cold Blood
Koko Be Good
Life of Pi 1
Life of Pi 2
Lost Symbol 2
Miracle of St. A's
Other Wes Moore
Pride & Prejudice
Red & Me
Thousand Splendid Suns
Thousand Splendid Suns 2
Town Called Alice
Where Men Win Glory
Year of Living Biblically
Meeting location: small conference room between Mrs. Neault and Ms. Wooten.
The Tattoo Artist
by Jill Ciment
Alex Craig - Facilitator
How did you like the book? Why?
Did you like the author’s style of writing?
What did you take away from reading this book?
Did this book change your views on art or tattoos?
Did any part of the book give you an emotional reaction?
Would you like to see illustrations of the tattoos during the reading?
Did you enjoy the ending of the book?
What would you like to change about the book?
Did you enjoy the two different parts (pre and post stranding)?
Was any part of the story confusing?
Did you think the different settings made sense?
Did the author do a good job of describing the settings?
Where would be a better place to have this story set?
Creative Writing Piece:
Alternate Last Scene: The Last Mark
Even though I was in the middle of New York City, my youthful home, I wanted to follow the customs of my adopted culture, the Ta’un’uuans. As was their practice I had left a small patch of clean skin in the center of my left palm. This would be the location of my final tattoo. It was believed that no matter how unskilled the artist, each person would want to put the finishing touch on the masterpiece that was their own body of experiences. Since I was a master tattoo artist it was highly expected that I design and inscribe my final image.
As I sat in the beautiful hotel room that LIFE magazine had procured for me, I looked at my LIFE cover and inspected the tattoos that were visible, remembering all that they represented. Then, suddenly, my final image came rushing into my mind. It was simple, nothing extraordinary, but it perfectly captured my life as of present as well as describing it as a whole. I instantly knew that the time had come to finish off the painting that was my body of tattoos.
I walked into the master bedroom and opened the top drawer of the bureau ever so gently. I reached in and fetched the wooden box that I had discovered during my first exploration of my new abode. Inside of the simple wooden box was a sewing kit with a variety of needles and threads. I didn’t care much about the beautifully colored threads, the needles were what I was interested in. I cradled the plastic casing that the needles were secured in and padded over to the coffee table. I then fetched a couple of pens that the hotel had left next to a pad of paper on the desk. I reached across the table, to the glass astray that sat in the center, and emptied the pens’ ink into it. I suddenly wished that I had my vibrant, intricate ink that I would mix back on the island. However, I would have to make due with the black pen ink that sat glistening at the bottom of the ashtray in front of me.
Opening my left hand, I examined that last piece of un-tattooed flesh on my body. It was very strange to look at; I had been getting tattoos for decades and I had almost forgotten what clean skin looked like. It felt cold, and was incredibly boring. I was aware that my life hadn’t turned out the way I had dreamed it would but, feeling the emptiness that resonated from that blank piece of skin, I realized that I was happy with the course my life did take.
I began dutifully filling the void on my left palm with my final image. It was a small image, and didn’t take more than five minutes to complete. There was no need for it to be intricate and complicated, the rest of my body described what had been complicated for me. All it was was a four letter word, in bold capitalized letters. On the center of my palm appeared the word LIFE. It represented the multiple lives I had, the one in New York, the one on the island, and the one after I had returned. It also represented the magazine that made my story a sensation and brought me back to the place that I had spent the early years of my life. Also, it gave a description of all of the other tattoos on my body. They represented my life and the events and emotions that I experienced while I was living it. Nothing could have been more simplistically perfect.
A Twist In The Ending, To Start a New Beginning
“The Ta’un’uuans always reserve a small patch of virgin skin, unsoiled by the needle, for any last images, any final words, so to speak, before the canvas has been completely saturated with one’s exploits.” (206) The patch is always on the bottom of the foot; the foot is always the one a newborn’s first step is with. It is believed that this final tattoo, the one that completes soul’s journey in the body, is the most important to one’s life story. It has to show the love, beauty, pain, suffering, struggles, pleasures, most memorable moments in one’s life. Tattoos over time begin to fade due to everyday activities, but this final marking will be the most prominent from all the others, because it will be fresh and stay with the soul through it’s journey into the afterworld.
In my case though, it will be different. I called the front desk and had them put me through to Brooke.
“Hello.” said Brooke.
“Hi Brooke, this is Sara.”
“Well good morning Sara. How may I help you today?”
“I would like to return home I said, first thing tomorrow morning.”
“But... Sara. Why so soon?” she asked.
Brooke was in shock that I did not want to stay in New York any longer. I miss my family, my true family of the Ta’un’uuans.
“I only have one spot left on my entire body for my everlasting tattoo. The final piece to the puzzle of my soul’s journey.” I explained to her.
“Sara... We want you to stay, not leave. Life Magazine is holding a LIVE interview that will be broadcasted across every channel on television.”
“I don’t care about the interview. I must go home to keep my tattoo. It is every Ta’un’uuans’s tradition to have their last tattoo be marked into the skin in their own home. My home is back on the island of the Ta’un’uuans. And that is final.” I demanded to her.
Brooke later, after trying to understand what tradition truly meant to me, called the airport. Booked a first class, single flight, two passenger plane, minus the pilot for myself and her to bring me back to the comfort of my own home.
5:00am, what time is it? Where am I? I rolled over onto my feet and stood up on a straw and leaf flooring. I bumped my head off a low ceiling made from palm tree trucks and palm leaves woven in and out it. It was hot, and the sun was shining as bright as I pictured back on the island. That’s when I realized where I was, who I am, what my duty for my tribe is. I sat back down on my straw floor, picked a needle resting in vibrant colored ink. I brought my fought up onto my lap, brought the needle the middle of my foot, and pressed through my skin. I said out loud, only loud enough for myself to hear, “I am Sara Ehrenreich, of the Ta’un’uuans tribe.” This made me smile, as I continued tattooing my life’s journey into the skin for my soul to take into the after world to told my story. My story of a women who will be known as Sara Ehrenrrich, the Tattoo Artist.
Haiku about Sara in the beginning of the book:
Sleep with a rich guy
Just to feel important
And then make art
Diamante Poem about tattoos:
Engraving, Illustrating, Displaying
Pain, Comfort, Meaningful, Insignificant
Misrepresenting, Unappealing, Fleeting
Free verse poem about Sara and Philip:
Stranded on an island,
with only one person you know.
Going there for art,
but being kept there against the will.
Villagers look different,
speaking a different language, too.
The boat comes near,
but the villagers start to go crazy,
so the boat does not stop.
Leaving you stranded.
Haiku about the night that the girl got killed:
Its a windy night
Tent is blowing in the wind
Then a girl dies
Free verse poem about the night that the girl got killed:
On a cold windy night,
The tent comes loose.
Being pelted by sand,
The couple try to hide under the sheets.
The wind and sand become unbearable.
Looking for shelter,
And they come across their tent,
Which killed a village girl.
Being accused of her death,
the couple gets punished.
They get stranded on the island,
thanks to the villagers.
forever marked with the villager’s tattoos.
__New York Times Review__
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