Open Letter #3

Photo ©  JGriffithPhotography

Dear ——,

I miss the sound of the tattoo machine.

I stop by my friend’s parlor to listen to it sometimes. That repetitive hum as it penetrates skin, releasing endorphins in the brain. It relaxes me in ways not even the most soothing of places could. I think I could wake up to that sound—after every afternoon nap and long rest—but then it wouldn’t be very special now, would it? I wouldn’t be writing this, and I certainly wouldn’t be opening these online videos just to hear it because I can’t go outside. (It’s pouring out there, pouring. Bad things happen in the rain. Good things, too, of course. But it’s always the bad things that keep people inside.)

I wonder how tattoo artists feel about it. Do they miss it, too? What do you think? When they’re at home, drawing and dreaming about putting their art on someone’s skin. But it’s a Sunday and they need rest and they have obligations to their families and friends, so they have to wait. Wait, wait, wait.

The plight of the artist: always working, mind set to repeat, ideas vying for first escape. Still, I understand the appeal to keep working. (If your passion can be called that.) There are times when I miss my writing desk or my keyboard or whatever it is I feel like using at the time.

But this is different, this is me missing something that has that wonderfully rare ability to put me to sleep.

I miss the sound of the tattoo machine.

And the pain of it—well… sometimes I miss that, too.

—N. Rinth

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