Every now and then I manage to talk a small press author into showing us a little skin... tattooed skin, that is. I know there are websites and books out there that have been-there-done-that already, but I hadn't seen one with a specific focus on the authors and publishers of the small press community. Whether it's the influence for their book, influenced by their book, or completely unrelated to the book, we get to hear the story behind their indie ink....
Today's ink story comes from Lee L. Krecklow, who recently released his debut novel The Expanse Between.
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars, and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”
It took me until I was nearly 40 to get my first tattoo. I was never opposed to the idea. I didn’t need to build up courage. But there was never an image, an idea, a mark I thought I could carry forever and with which I could always identify. Nothing seemed like it could last. But once I found it, I was ready.
The typewriter, the classic machinery of writing, is permanently associated with the craft. The image lasts. Much like vinyl for music, the tool was supplanted in popularity by newer, more convenient machinery, but it lives on for those with a deeper, more reverent understanding of the art. On my arm I wanted to see the workings of the machine. The mechanics. The glint of the metal. I wanted to hear it.
Kerouac wrote those words on an Underwood typewriter, and I used the same type of machine as the template for my tattoo. “On The Road” is one of the few books I’ve returned to over the years, finding more in it on each passing. Not only does it work for me as literature, but also as a blueprint for how I wish I could write. Here, burn, burn, burn is less for me about the context of the full quote, but more of a reminder to work as Kerouac did, by never leaving room for a yawn or for a commonplace word, but to open up and explode and to leave anyone who might be generous enough to read your work going, “Awww!
Lee L. Krecklow is the author of the novel The Expanse Between (2017, Winter Goose Publishing). He was the winner of the 2016 storySouth Million Writers Award, and has fiction appearing in Eclectica, Oxford Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, The Tishman Review, Storychord and others. Find more at leelkrecklow.com.