Ampersands Forever: Why I Got an & Tattoo

Now that I'm 32, it seems high time I start making some rash and questionable decisions around this weekend, I went out and got my first tattoo.

I got a pretty sizable ampersand on my forearm, and apparently when you do that, it leads people to ask one very specific question:

"Why'd you get a pretty sizable ampersand tattooed on your forearm?"



Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few reasons, and I thought I'd post them here on the blog for all to enjoy. (And also, I wanted to be able to send my mom a link to an explanation rather than talk to her about it in person. I don't think she's very thrilled about the whole thing, and this seems way safer. Hi, Mom!)

So here's why I got an ampersand tattoo, in general order of most obvious reasons to least obvious reasons:

1. I sort of like reading and writing.

You might already know this about me. I've written two novels, and I've read a few, too. Frankly, I don't see how I possibly could have gotten something that didn't come off of a keyboard. Every time I see this tattoo, I think, "Why aren't I writing?" And I think the future fans of Anomaly Flats appreciate that.

I mean, they don't know it yet. But they'll get there.

2. I love me some typography.

This sort of ties into the first point, but I don't just love literature; I love art in all forms. (Did you know I have a master's degree in arts management? It's true! #TheMoreYouKnow)

Typography really brings together two of the things I love most; visual art and the written word. Typography is form + function for book nerds, so an ampersand in an unusual font seemed like a decent choice.

3. It reminds me that "Tremendous things are in store for you." Well, for me. Well, for all of us.

Before the ampersand came along, I was THIS CLOSE to getting a quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: "Tremendous things are in store for you." Roald Dahl was and continues to be my biggest writing influence, and I absolutely love this quote. No matter how bleak things get, there's always something hidden and wonderful in store. The problem is, that quote ended up being a little long for the style I wanted. But then I thought, "WAIT! The ampersand is sort of the minimalist version of that sentence!" There's always something behind the "and." That's what conjunctions are all about. The ampersand tattoo is a reminder to keep looking forward, that during dark times, wonderful things are just around the bend...and it's also a reminder to myself during the ridiculously good times, that it's good to be prepared for the lows...because those always come around, too.

But mostly, things will be tremendous.

4. Words aren't the only type of communication.

Symbols can be a powerful means of communication. And I think it's good to always keep that in mind.

5. I'm just a blip on the universe's clock.


Am I mixing my metaphors? Whatever, it's a Sunday afternoon, and I'm sleepy. The point is, the ampersand is old. Like, really old. It's even older than some letters in our alphabet. And the alphabet is at least 60.

I like being reminded that the world has survived for millions of years, and it'll go on for millions more after I'm gone. Unless God decides to pack it all in the suitcase and toss the suitcase down a deep hole, the universe will endure, and the universe HAS been enduring. It's a good reminder that my problems aren't really that problematic, in the grand scheme of things. 

It also makes it okay that Apocalypticon hasn't yet been made into an Academy Award-winning movie starring Jim Parsons as Patrick and Jake Johnson as Ben. I mean, the book was only published in 2014. There's time.


6. I needed something new to blog about.

And getting a typography tattoo seemed like a decent topic.

So that's it. 

That's why I got a stylized ampersand permanently inked on my arm. What do you think? Best decision ever, or horrible mistake that I'll regret in a few weeks? I'd love to hear what you think of the tattoo in the comments!

And hey. At least I know it's not spelled wrong.