Monday, December 17, 2012

New Ink

“A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye. As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.” - V. Vale
"everything was beautiful and nothing hurt"- my first tattoo
Unfortunately, my inkwell went dry for a while - despite a deep reserve of new stories and major life changes.

I have been feeling guilty about my silence. I can almost envision a disappointed Kurt Vonnegut, shaking his head as he rhetorically asks, "Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?" My response to K.V. is - both.

I began thinking: How will I ever start blogging again? Where will I begin? I even pulled out my laptop a couple of times, but there just seemed too much to say... the white computer screen unblinkingly stared back at me, mocking my indecision.

But as Bukowski once said, even "writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all." So I decided to start writing again, which meant haphazardly picking a moment from the past few months to reflect upon... I finally settled on November 17, 2012 - the day my close friend took me to his seriously cool tattoo artist at the "Tattoo Garage" in Bloomfield, NJ.

For the past 10 years, I have wanted to tattoo my favorite quote from Slaughterhouse Five across my back. The quote reads, "everything was beautiful and nothing hurt." Perhaps it's because my young life was wracked with such pain that I've been repeatedly drawn to these words; however, something always seemed to get in the way of putting ink to skin. I think I now understand why - sometimes, even if we know what we want in life, we aren't yet ready for it.

Everything about the day of my tattoo felt right. I loved the fact that my friend's artist was in Bloomfield - the town where I was starting my life over again, after a long battle against Carcinoid cancer; and after ending a 5-year relationship with a good man - who just wasn't the right man.  I finally felt like I had reached a point in my life where I was ready to take a shot at happy possibilities instead of merely falling back on survival instincts.

Shortly after getting my tattoo, wonderfully positive things began to happen.  I met an adoring man who actually understands who I am at my core, and has made me feel more loved than I ever thought possible. I've begun to finally put on weight again, and have managed to go from a size 00 (I didn't even know they made a "double zero") to a size 2. I started seeing a new oncologist, who is running the right tests and helping me stay on top of the cancer. And finally, I am continuing to develop friendships with deep roots and supportive care.

Truly now, my tattoo isn't merely a black and white quote ripped from the pages of my favorite book - but rather a living testiment to the idea that beauty is attainable if one can force themselves to push past the pain.


  1. It's nice to hear from you again. I always like reading your blog and I'm glad you're feeling better. Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year!


  2. I'm so glad to hear things are going well. And what a beautiful tattoo/quote. Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favourite authors - he's so crazy yet so good. I guess that can apply to life in general as well. Cheers to you and everything that's beautiful!

  3. Good to see you back and writing. From net to net: keep well and keep writing.

  4. Marlena! such a lovely glad you're feeling better in all aspects of your life. starting over is scary, as is pushing through the physical and emotional pain it seems you've gone through lately, but it's such a great feeling to be on the other side, hopeful and with such positive things happening. i'm glad you're writing here again! That's a beautiful quote and so perfect to guide you into this new chapter of your life. all the best, stephanie :-)

  5. Marlena!
    So happy to read you again!
    Things finally seem to be taking a turn for the better for you and I am truly happy for you.
    Merry Christmas Marlena!

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  7. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?



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