I wanted to steal it, but it was too big to fit in my bag.

beansandtoast at googlemail dot com

So, what's the A for? Pat answer: "anything you want it to." Do I want to talk to you? Then "angelic, annoying, ask away..." The real story is for close friends and family.
I say, "a", where did my fellow letter go? email me at There's room for more than one of us. and if you're the other "a" in Richmond, I'd really like to hear from you!

It's the beginning of a sentence. That's all I know for sure, yet somewhere deep inside me... I think it means much more. It's the beginning of the alphabet, too. And my last name.
I was 17 when I received my word and 24 when I got it tattooed on me. As promised, it is my first tattoo - inked officially to commemorate the completion of my Bachelor's Degree in English; Creative Writing.
Better late than never.
Keep in touch, fellow words, redoffall [at] gmail [dot] com

        1. Approximately; nearly 2. Almost 3. To a reversed position or direction 4. In no particular direction 5. All around; on every side 6. In the area or vicinity; near 7. In succession; one after another 8. a. On the verge of; presently going to. Used with the infinitive b. Usage Problem. Used to show determination or intention in negative constructions with an infinitive
        1. On all sides of; surrounding 2. In the vicinity of; around 3. Almost the same as; close to; near. 4. a. In reference to; relating to; concerned with b. In the act or process of 5. In the possession or innate character of
        1. Moving here and there; astir 2. Being in evidence or existence
before receiving my word, i never really thought much of it. i never knew the many uses and definitions of the word. now that i am this word, i realize how important it is to our language. plus its a good conversation piece.
typical interaction with someone asking about my tattoo:
them: what's that all about?
me: exactly!
plus i get to tell everyone that i AM what its all about! heh
anyway, id love to hear from any of you other words out there, any word, any where. my email is if you message me, put "i am a word" in the subject so i know its you.

I put this across my shoulder. Get it? Across?

again." Een woord aan het einde van een uitgesproken zin. Wat beeindigd het? Wat wordt er gezegd? Wordt er om herhaling gevraagd van iets dat prettig is, of juist het tegendeel omdat "not" een andere eigenaar heeft? In ieder geval prikkelt het mijn zoektocht naar onzichtbare bedoelingen van gebeurtenissen. Ik nodig andere Words uit om de uitgesproken zin te reconstrueren. Mail naar:
again." A word at the end of a sentence spoken bij someone. What does it end? What is said? Is someone asking for something pleasant or on the contrary because "not" has an other owner? Anyway, it stimulates my search for the invisible meaning of things. I invite other Words to reconstruct te sentence. Mail to:

The uniter. The binder. The includer. The togetherness. The whole.
Of course, in norwegian, the word with the lettering "and" means "duck", as in the bird. I get a lot of strange questions...


March 19, 1978
September 5, 1993
June 4, 2001
June 11, 2004

are? my 'are' is more of an "aaarrrrrrgh", aye matey we'll be seein' who's makin' fun of who's tattoo when when the ink hits the skin! This be ART, ya scurvy flotsam and jetsam. Literate, complex, takes a long time art, no 41 second youtube gratification. ha.

Who, what and why I "are" as well as what we "are" as people is one of many questions given a different answer almost every day. Today I am humble and at peace with the world around me, inspired by the very things I found daunting the day before, while tomorrow I may be the exact opposite. And, we as people today may be gung ho on positive change to ourselves and the world around us when just yesturday we threw a cigerrate butt from the window of our car thinking, "what difference does it make?". I love my word because of how very broad it seems but how very meaningful it can be. We "are" people who care, and we "are" the people who can turn, "what difference does it make? into, what difference can I make?".
-Joshua Wilson, Nashville, TN

Merriam-Webster definition:
Main Entry: 1-are

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English earun; akin to Old Norse eru, erum are, Old English is is
pres 2d singular or present pl of BE
The word "are" is a tough one to pin a definition on. I've been pondering it since I received my word in the mail, even though I immediately knew that my word was perfectly suited for me. Throughout my life, I've been exactly what and who I wanted to be, without regard for popularity or acceptance. I did what I wanted, wore what felt comfortable, dyed my hair whatever my latest favorite color was, and spoke as I pleased. I suppose the phrase that best sums up my feelings for my word is, "Be as you are." That's all you can ever be.
-Kelly Lysle, Hammondsville, Ohio,,

Are equals =, this is that, you are mortal. Are is a limiting Aristotelian concept destroyed by E-Prime ( -- San Francisco,CA

1. the snappy answer to all of life’s existential “Why?” questions.

past participle of
1 be
2 used to mean 'visited', 'travelled' or 'arrived':
I've never been to Kenya, but I hope to visit it next year.
The postman hasn't been here yet.
The doctor's just been (= has arrived and left).
3 used as the past participle of 'go' when the action referred to is finished:
She's been to the hairdresser's (= and now she has returned).
The way I always answer the question "been?" "been there done that"


The possibility of Communist expansion
in the western hemisphere
means little as I can't
take my eyes off the
hint of some girl's red bra.
She's a threat to me.

Tattoos should always start good conversations. It thrills me every time this simple, short word strikes up long talks--about art and permanence and presentation--and captures the imagination as the "meaning" of single word is considered at length.

Thanks for letting me be a part of this!

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It begins for me with a melody. A starting point that implies great things with a volume of vision both seen and unseen that compliments this waking dream in shades of color. . Precognitive thought caught still in the grasp of a transitive verb. Open to any and all energies, limitless possibilities, both hope and quest combined.
It begins in the reflection, the haze of ideals, glow calming dreams, slow to the dynamics of feeling and force. And it begins again and again, singing sweet songs of inspiration and reclamation, contrasting the give and take that drowning ideas hide behind.
It begins in the doorway, at the knock or the bell, and in the honest hearts of those I cherish. It begins with a kiss, sparking eyes and interest with true nobility and gravity. It breathes life into ends

"book." sits above the outline of an Almost Bird that was initially and accidentally drawn on a napkin and originally given to a lesbian co-worker. She dressed like a man better than i did, but still had a feminine sex appeal you couldn't ignore. She kept the birdie safe for later. Now "book." is its company, it's companion, and partner in crime. People ask, "why does it say book on your arm?" i say, "the bird's the word." and they at least pretend to get it. Then ask, "well, what's the period for?" it's better just to laugh from the start.

I've long had this fantasy of inviting everyone in my sentence to dinner. Are you out there, O my sentence?
        "Even the sound of a falling leaf leaves a bruise."
If you are, contact me at
(I guess we Words are part of a project that will never be completed. An unfinished symphony. Seems fitting, somehow....given the ever-changing nature of skin.....)


1. free from doubt or reservation; confident; sure: I am certain he will come.
2. destined; sure to happen (usually fol. by an infinitive): He is certain to be there.
3. inevitable; bound to come: They realized then that war was certain.
4. established as true or sure; unquestionable; indisputable: It is certain that he tried.
5. fixed; agreed upon; settled: on a certain day; for a certain amount.
6. definite or particular, but not named or specified: A certain person phoned. He had a certain charm.
7. that may be depended on; trustworthy; unfailing; reliable: His aim was certain.
8. some though not much: a certain reluctance.
9. Obsolete.
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October 2018
Almost 15 years

By intuition, Mightiest Things
Assert themselves — and not by terms —
"I'm Midnight" — need the Midnight say —
"I'm Sunrise" — Need the Majesty?
Omnipotence — had not a Tongue —
His listp — is Lightning — and the Sun —
His Conversation — with the Sea —
"How shall you know"?
Consult your Eye!
(Emily Dickinson)

I'm "covered", and I feel covered, even though "covered" is often un-covered. Covered... an umbrella-word of comfort.


as in existing no more in this space and time,

or better yet the ability to choose to take one's own life into personal responsibility
that is

why not choose to have this life

       and commandeer your actions

to suit such a cause.



Such complexity and versatility lingering behind a simple facade of letters. Tho my chiropractor laughs "wishful thinking" whenever he sees my tattoo...
a. Having a horizontal surface; flat
b. Having no irregularities, roughness, or indentations; smooth.
c. Being in the same plane or line; parallel
a. Having no variations or fluctuations; uniform
b. Of uniform distribution
c. Placid; calm
a. Equal or identical in degree, extent, or amount
b. Equally matched or balanced
c. Just; fair
d. Having nothing due on either side; square
e. Having exacted full revenge.
4. Having equal probability; as likely as not
5. Sports
a. Having an equal score
b. Being equal for each opponent. Used of a score.
6. Mathematics
a. Exactly divisible by 2.
b. Characterized or indicated by a number exactly divisible by 2.
a. Having an even number in a sequence.
b. Having an even number of members.
8. Having an exact amount, extent, or number; precise
a. To a greater degree or extent. Used as an intensive with comparative adjectives and adverbs: Looked sick and felt even worse.
b. Indeed; moreover. Used as an intensive: He was depressed, even suicidal.
c. Used as an intensive to indicate something that is unexpected: declined even to consider the idea.
2. At the same time as; already; just: Even as we watched, the building collapsed.
3. To a degree that extends; fully: loyal even unto death.
4. Exactly; precisely: It was even as he said: the jewel was gone.

whenever forever wheresoever whichsoever whosoever however everlasting sever evergreen everglade wherever whomever whatever evermore never griever
i refuse to ignore the ever in the never of me


when i was waiting for my word, i thought about what words i wouldn't want (there weren't many) & i hoped that i would get punctuation as well as a word; so it was great to become the end of a sentence.
exile. is perfect. i've been an exile of sorts for years, & recently i moved from new zealand (my home) to germany so i've become even more of an exile. i put it on my forearm, facing me so that i can read it. it's a great conversation starter - most people are interested/curious. but i had the tattoo for 2 & a half years before i met people who already knew about the project - that was great because they hadn't met a word before so they were quite excited by it. i'd like to meet another word some time.

face... surface (vs. obscure)? forward? fears? visage?
face (n)?
face (v)?
I wonder which it will be!
(Italian - 'it does')
(face is connected to your. your face? face your?)


excerpts from a forthcoming essay on literary translation (by annarosen at gmail):
I have a word inscribed directly on my body: fall. Reminder, command, and warning. It comes from a short piece that exists only on bodies like and unlike mine, spelled out, one word a body, assigned. The author calls it Skin. I perform other people's words, make them mine, but found a way to become the living performance of another's word.[...]
So, quixotic, this attempt at balance, and precarious, always, because bodies are risk, and words pass from body to body, mouth to mouth. To translate means to carry across. You who are fragments, be strong enough in your multiplicity to carry the wanderlusting words, together with your own body, safely across that liminal space. Wrestle vertigo, this urge to fall. Pretend not to know how sweet the spot between language(s), the tacit realm of body, encounter, skin. Consent to only glancing touch, coy, incomplete, engendering more desire.

filled Northern California area
Everybody is filled with something. What are you filled with? When you reflect upon the conditions in your world, are you filled with fear and worry" When you rehash some of the ways in which you have been hurt in the past, are you filled with resentment and bitterness? When you consider your plight in life, are you filled with self-pity?
I am filled with self admiration that I receive from my own "body art".

Having been peeled back in order to expose what's usually hidden by its skin. The period makes it final.
I didn't let people see my vulnerabilities for a long time- or at least I told myself that I wasn't letting them- but now I realize that a lot of power lies in doing that.
I can take my skin off in front of you and you still can't hurt me.
This tattoo is very small and so it is becoming blurry, as the artist warned me it would. I might get a bigger version of it written over itself.

v. float·ed, float·ing, floats

Shortly after I received my word I went on vacation with my family to Florida. During one of our daily trips to the beach the water was evacuated because someone reported a floating body, one that was obviously presumed to be dead. Lifeguards and boats rushed out in attempt to find the supposed body. An hour later helicopters were brought in. Three hours later the body was still missing. Last I heard the body had not been found, and presumably it is still floating somewhere at sea.
I now associate "floating" with dead bodies.

When I am in a bad mood/don’t feel like explaining, I tell curious passer-by-ers that I am the messiah of the 21st century and that I walk on water just as Jesus did.

The image is appropriately placed on my foot, the primary part of the body that I associate with floating.
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fuse- a cord of combustible material / a union formed as with materials melting together / the sacred and the profane.


People ask, "what's the glass for"? Depending on my mood: "it's a long story" or "because I'm brittle and you can see right through me".
The font is Golden, created by William Morris in the nineteenth century to be used in his Kelmscott Press books. As I can't afford any of the books, I have the font on my wrist.
I put it on my wrist before I started practicing aikido, thinking it would be cleverly hidden by my watch unless I felt like revealing it. Now it gets grabbed incessantly by eager fellow aikido-ists, all no doubt wondering why my wrist says 'glass'. So given the chance I probably would have put it somewhere else. It's become a lesson in acceptance, as tattoos don't move easily. It's a pretty cool word though. Transparent. Breakable. Letting in the light.

glass #2. That is all.

serious and finite; where we go when the fun is over; where we go for unknown fun; worm-time.

has - most people think it is someone's initials, but they never seem to ask whose? My dear husband suggested I get been inked next. Don't think I shall. (Olympia, WA)

once years ago in the desert i heard the clearest voice in my ears, like bells, like the sound of hissing wood in a fire and the message was
you have all that you need.
when i got my word i knew i was home.
vancouver, bc

Whenever I look at the word "haven't" tattooed on my foot, I think to myself, "Oh yes I have!"

since it's on my ankle, some people tend to think that "heal" is a misspelling for "heel"....loving this word, first of all because as a tattoo, it must heal, and secondly, as a human being, i must often also heal, physically, emotionally.

heard is most visible on the inside of my right ankle.
indeed a footnote, it is about putting your best foot forward.
heard is about being an active part of something meaningful.

A beginning... Of a quote, a day, an adventure, a feeling... Something is always beginning somewhere, and beginnings are hopeful, exciting... And it all starts with me.

I was the quintessential word, I couldn't have picked a better word if I'd been allowed to choose my own. "I" sums up my individuality. I am often asked why I have a 'black eye' tattooed on my forearm. I often have to look twice...! I forget it is there, it has become such a part of me. I enjoy explaining The Skin Project and seeing the look of total confusion on peoples' faces sometimes.

I recognizes my conceited independence. I am what I am and who I am, and that is enough.
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The "in" on my wrist gets me in trouble. Whenever I sneak up behind someone and cover their eyes they always know it is me.

A preposition. The opposite of out. These are just basic things that come to my mind when thinking about my word.
I received my tattoo in January of 2004. I love explaining that my tattoo is a mere word in a wonderful masterpiece being mastered by a wonderful author with a great creative mind. I reside in Pennsylvania, USA, and love being part of this unique experience.
Fellow words are welcome to email me at: or you can visit my myspace site at :

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I think it's very cool that my word "is" could be viewed as an Acronym for INERADICABLE STAIN... just something to think about...
Also wanted to represent the wonderful word that is: is ... and looking for other is' out there!
I find when people question what my "is" stands for they don't fully understand until I email them the link to Shelley's awesome website which explains the whole project (that I'm thrilled to be a part of) in depth.

To me "is" is:
1) the active from of being (to be). "I activly am"
2) I love that people can say "She is..." and have it have another layer of meaning to it.

I too am an IS, having adopted that alter-ego back in September 2003 after reading about Shelley in Newsweek. I also like to tell people that my IS means ineradicable stain. I look at that as an extra bonus for getting a word that bears the initials of Shelley's project. Tongue in cheek. I like to see the expression on someone's face when they first see my tattoo. I enjoy that expression even more when I explain what it means and why I got it.
When I am old and wrinkled, my body will tell the tale of my youth thru the ink I have chosen to tell my story. Each tattoo represents a time in my life and has great significance. My IS tattoo is no exception and is by far the tattoo I'm most proud to show and wear.

it's just so versatile! Definitions from the web are prodigious, eg. 'referring to some person or thing that cannot or should not be named', 'an animate being whose sex is unspecified' or 'A fashionable, popular, or "in" thing'. There are so many more possibilities too.

What pleases me most about this word is that it is so ambiguous, anybody reading it can come up with an original reason why I might have it. Therefore despite it's ambiguity, it has (and therefore, since I am an embodiment on the word, 'I have') developed a complexity way beyond a more simply interpreted word. Mindblowing!

What meanings have attached themselves to it?
That's it.
"and when the last word dies, the story dies with it"

be just and just be.
and, as my mother often reminds me, just breathe.

I am Larger. At 5'1", I am now able to say this for the first time in my life.
adj. larg·er, larg·est
        1. Of greater than average size, extent, quantity, or amount; big.
        2. Of greater than average scope, breadth, or capacity; comprehensive.
        3. Important; significant: had a large role in the negotiations; a large producer of paper goods.
        1. Understanding and tolerant; liberal: a large and generous spirit.
        2. Of great magnitude or intensity; grand: “a rigid resistance to the large emotions” (Stephen Koch).
        1. Pretentious; boastful. Used of speech or manners.
        2. Obsolete. Gross; coarse. Used of speech or language.
        6. Nautical. Favorable. Used of a wind.
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Without letters there can be no words.

people have told me the significance of letters as a ironic statement regarding those who get kanji without knowing the meaning. Sometimes I let people wonder.

Like is a word that carries no negative with it. As a filler word, like serves as a neutral pause and as a positive, it flatters its subject. When I recieved the word in the mail I was pensive, I did not hate the word "like" but I also didn't love it. Simply put, I liked like and will wear it on my wrist forever.

1 a: an outline, feature, or contour of a body or figure and especially of a face —usually used in plural b: a linear topographic feature (as of the earth) that reveals a characteristic (as a fault or the subsurface structure)
2: a distinguishing or characteristic feature —usually used in plural

My little son sometimes wears a shirt "My dad's tattoos are cooler than your dad's!" and that is true in any case..............

v. loos·ened, loos·en·ing, loos·ens
To free from restraint, pressure, or strictness.
When people see this on the inside of my left ankle I give them this definition.
When I wish to give a quick answer I sometimes say "Righty tighty...."

they are my lungs.

the body is a map, you know,
and every freckle
a destination
in this great
where you're
to go.
and every scar
a place
and this, my love, is
the very
essence of
"rivers run through me
mountains bore into my body
and the geography of this country
begins forming in me
turning me into lakes, chasms, ravines,
earth for serving love
opening like a furrow
filling me with a longing to live
to set it free, beautiful
i want to explode with love..."
-gioconda belli


Remembering eidedically.
Doomed to be the holder of memories while simultaneously being forgotten.
Something funereal; funerealism.

It is very liberating to have the word "mine." After I was tattooed, I looked at it and realized that this is mine. This body, This life, This understanding, its all mine period, end of sentence. mine.

the comma at the end gives pause, soft ontology or brick broken windows?
Anastrophic, convergent, the prototype capitalist child, born in the 80s, raised through slash and burn, a lunar slut within the New Biometric State
cupping the secretive sprouting seeds of blissful wetware, slipping through fingers at whim
divine giggle
scattering ions
"We are posthuman -- our theories tattooed on the flesh of our bodies, stamped and branded, not merely as symbols of aesthetic affiliation, but rather as something dangerously equivalent -- symbols of belonging and defiance. And it is this particular paradox -- of defiant belonging -- can be so dangerous precisely because the two are now equivalent: futile resistance in an age of unverifiable self-fashioning."
Ted Hiebert, "The Lacanian Conspiracy"

1. (noun) A warm, sheltered enclosure.
Usage example: "The animals rested for the night within the mnemonic and waited for daybreak before continuing along the path."
2. (noun) To some, an uncomfortable, vaguely metallic box, with a deep, persistent echo.
Usage example: "He was thrown into the mnemonic and told to wait there until his hearing. He despaired. All night, he despaired in fact. And without hankies."
(, currently living in Estonia)

life is a metamorphosis
i am molt

Or, as we in the UK would write it, moult. To shed hair, skin, feathers, etc. Don't we all molt throughout our lives? Not just our hair and skin, but emotional stuff too. I'm very happy with my word, and it's great to be part of such an exciting project. Feel free to stop by my blog, if you like.

You might just as well say that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!

See also: treacle

I'm move. I have to keep going.

from Old English nama; cognate with Old High German (OHG) namo, Sanskrit नामन् (nāman), Latin nomen, Greek ὄνομα (onoma), and Persian نام (nâm), from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *nómn̥.
Perhaps connected to non-Indo-European terms such as Tamil நாமம் (namam), Japanese なまえ (namae), and Proto-Uralic *nime.
Tudo tem um nome.
Cada nome uma vibração.

Because I know that it's really my forearm...but do you?

1. white-bread goody-two-shoes easy-going push-over secretly awakens inner bad-ass superhero with word "not" on arm
2. speculation by spectators: hidden else where on body are words "to" "be" and "or"
3. ibid: "please" "do" and "touch"

the time when we live. nothing exists outside of now. don't screw it up. don't waste it.

I am of but flesh and bones
of my mother and father
I am of America
I am of another

Contained in many great words. Coffee. Profiterole. Hasselhoff. Boffin. Inoffensive. Softly.

of is a placement in other things - one of them, senator of , class of '83 - and since I'm one of the words, I'm part of the story, it's multiply defining itself... Of course, the gazillion "O F? What's that mean" questions just make it fun :)

for all the things you wish to erase from yourself, sometimes from your skin, the scars from past wounds you self inflicted or perhaps from another, these are yours, never to be erased, never to be forgotten, these are your history, these are apart of you, never to be taken off

Being word number 522 I feel like I'm one of the first. I wrote to Shelley in 2002 and got my tattoo a week after it came in the mail, in October of 2003. It is my favorite of my four tattoos and I love it. Everyone always asks "is off on the other side??" I have come to reply with "yes, good luck with that" Having my tattoo almost ten still never gets old. And I currently live in Hawaii so I'm always in a bathing suit, therefore it's always seen. Thank you, Shelley.
If anyone wants to contact me for the purpose of SKIN, please make note in the subject line.


It's a state. It's a condition.

the opposite of no
the body electric
on with the show
(the show must go on)

Sometimes it's only wishful thinking. Sometimes it's related to things which quickly fade. More often it’s related to significance, change, and chaos.
A one time:
• event of importance
• period of sorrow
• loss in the family
• friendship
• roommate
• lover
• beloved dog
What you have experienced once, most likely changed you then. Once refers to a discrete image of significance that is no more. Once can be put into a box and sent as a present. Like a black and white photograph of two ladies on a sunny bank looking to the distance, amused by something which caught their eyes once. No matter how much we decline, we can always remember once and never stop knowing it, or feeling it. I was trapped once. I dreamed once. I was damned once. I was a fool once. Once, until the day I die and likely longer. Heroes were made for once. Once is a lesson learned which can never be forgotten.

I never expected one word to have so many meanings.

I am One. The One. The only One. The pierced One. The tattooed One. The insane One. The freaky One. Alone. Aloof. Solitary. One.

all I want to know is, which ones am I? the nature of the word implies an adjective; I crave to know which one is applied to this word I represent.

over. punctuation included. How perfect that my word "over." would end with a period indicating finality.
For the most part over. has served as a way to help me find closure in more than a few areas of my life. Until getting my word I had a real problem letting go.
Now, when i find myself wallowing in the past, or at a crossroads that requires a final answer, i can look to my contribution to the Skin Project. I can finally consider a situation and actually decide (and accept) that it is over.

Beyond the pale...
The phrase "beyond the pale", meaning to go beyond the limits of law or decency, was in use by the mid-17th century. The phrase is a reference to the general sense of boundary. What is beyond the pale today?

part is stretch-marked now
part is linked to a lost love, a fast. love, a love that's better off gone but still sometimes lamented, missed, mist.
part is sometimes forgotten and then happily, surprisingly rediscovered. Strange, since part is in plain view.

The word is on my ......

Remember? a recovering alcoholic sober for 5+ years, my word couldn't be more perfect. a portent, a question, an admonition...the past is always present and my future ensured by remembering it.

Doctor: "There must be an interesting story behind that [tattoo]."
Me: "Yes. Yes, there is."

        1. To produce or make (speech sounds)


I waited almost a year to get my word. Once I got the papers, I ran to my tattoo guy and got it inked. say. In garamond.

It was a great experience at Sacred Rose Tattoo in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the person manning my camera was not very proficient, so the photos I got weren't worth keeping. I'd like to thank brin for financing the tattoo itself.

In my reading of Consciousness Explained, Daniel C. Dennett suggests that we may not know what we will say until we say it. That is, rather than thoughts shaping words, our own words reach back and shape our thoughts. It has always been a bit of trick to imagine I am what I eat. However, I can easily see that I am what I say. Our species would not be without our words.
I read Fahrenheit 451 when I was a kid. The theme tormented and fascinated me. Oh, I knew which side I'd be on. I knew I'd be one of the be a rebel by becoming a book! I didn't have to be a massive work of profundity. Just a story. No, the torment came in knowing I could never memorize a book. Even a short one. So, where would I fit?
Now I am a word. It's modest. But, I'm a word in infinite works: books, poems, recipes—"remember, souffles are very sensitive."
Reading could be rebellious—I was happy, but skeptical. Since then I've learned that words do scare people more than anything.
        "Hush. Don't speak now, let the adults talk. That's a good girl."
        "I'll whip you, boy, if I catch you readin' and writin'!
Whenever a people is bound, they are bound first by silencing their writing and speaking. Defying laws and threats, men and women learn to read and write as a first act of setting themselves free. The spoken and written word live long after the body can wield a sword.Words are the sole tangible remains of revolutions.
On the other hand, I'm sure my most central existence is within the cinched trench coat of Raymond Chandler's prose. I can smell the LA rain on my wool fedora. Marlowe. Yeah, now that the guy was sensitive. Too sensitive, some say, when I'm introduced to a beautiful dame or a big lug's sap. Yeah....

To make visible; bring to view: bare, disclose, display, expose, reveal, unclothe, uncover, unmask, unveil. Archaic: discover. Idioms: bring to light, lay open, make plain. See show
To come into view: appear, emerge, issue, loom, materialize. Idioms: make (or put in) an appearance, meet the eye. See see
To present a lifelike image of: delineate, depict, describe, express, image, limn, picture, portray, render, represent. See show
To make a public and usually ostentatious show of. Also used with off: brandish, display, disport, exhibit, expose, flash, flaunt, parade, sport. See show
To show the way to: conduct, direct, escort, guide, lead, pilot, route, shepherd, steer, usher. See show
To make known or identify, as by signs: denote, designate, indicate, mark, point out, specify. See show
To make manifest or apparent: demonstrate, display, evidence, evince, exhibit, manifest, proclaim, reveal. See show
To give a precise indication of, as on a register or scale: indicate, mark, read, record, register. See show
To be performed: play, run. See performing arts
To establish as true or genuine: authenticate, bear out, confirm, corroborate, demonstrate, endorse, establish, evidence, prove, substantiate, validate, verify. See show, support

When I received the word, "skin" several years ago I decided to have it tattooed on the inside of my left wrist. Even though I spend a lot of time explaining why I have this tattoo, I'm still glad to be a part of this project.

I received my word on St Patrick’s Day, and being Irish I was a bit cross-eyed at the time. When I woke the next morning I was unsure if it was a dream. In all my ponderings during the months before receiving it, I never once considered ‘skin’ as a possibility. I feel very lucky.
I would love to hear from other words:

I am "a word". It is part of who I am now. I could have hidden this part of my identity (like my other tattoos), kept it personal, safe, covered. Now I am wearing if not my heart on my sleeve, my: sleeves. on my arm!
I loved the idea of the project and it still inspires most of the people who ask me about my tattoo. Living in the UK, I don't meet many people who have heard of it, but every now and then I do, and that's great.
The funniest thing people say is "you mean some people might have "a", or "the", how awful!" in disbelief. Perhaps I'm lucky in that I have both syllables and punctuation - or perhaps "Skin" will become tribal, with a faction of pronouns staging a coup?
Katherine :D

\sloo\ n
1: a wet and marshy or muddy place (as a swamp)
2: a discouraged state of mind, a state of moral degradation or spiritual dejection
\sluff\ n : something that has been or may be shed or cast off

After the tattoo was done, my tattoo artist joked, "Don't let anyone ever tell you you're nothing."

       The definition remains with the author. I am all that it embodies. A more perfect word for me couldn't have been issued.

Spared – A reprieve. Given a second chance. The munificence of a stranger, or an enemy, or a former friend. The worst-case scenario is taken away.
When one is spared, one is subject to the one that is sparing. It is the terminal verb, the last connection between object and subject, if all goes well.

start (noun) a beginning of movement, activity or development. (transitive verb) to bring into being i.e. start a rumor; to begin the use of i.e start to bake a cake; to do or experience the first stages or actions of i.e. start riding my bike ...again.
when i first got my word i immediately had a positive reaction. to be cheesey it was uplifting in a good way. it's a good word - there were sometimes when days felt like they were running together and not much was really happening. you know it's like the t-heads song, "..And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here?"
i though it was a perfect little kick in the pants. Yeah start - start anything. just start living the life i want and start being happy with that and stop being so hard on myself. in a way it's a reminder so i put it low on my left arm where i will always see it.
of course everyone asks me "where does it end?", "where's is the end?". i think it's interesting because immediately people are looking for closure. why can't i be on-going. why do i have to end. then i explain the project and everyone wants to be a word too. i love it.
       and i love watching the project expand. it's exciting to see all the other words. i really hope we can all get together at one time. that would be uber-cool.

Es la permanencia de la vida.
Es el permanecer sin alteraciones.
Es estar por siempre

...seriously, its just not that big/fabulous/interesting/dazzlingly different! Yes, I know what it says. Didn't you read it? Then why are you still looking/pondering/considering touching me with your eyes and your ridiculously juvenile talk? Just...STOP!
No, no, no, not you WORDS. I love words. Hey come back and play. Really I was only kidding. Please. Wait? STOP!

I don't mind that this seems to have fallen by the wayside - I'm still a word, and will always be one. I love being a word among others, regardless of how many of us there are, were, or have been. My tattoo wasn't particularly well done, and is a little blurred and a little off now that it's over three years old. It's all okay. I'm here, and I'm glad.

I'm no longer sure which came first, swelling or swelling.

How fitting.

less than, greater than, just than.

"the" has two pronunciations depending on what comes after it, a consonant or a vowel. this flexibility reflects my interaction and collaboration with the world around me, my role as a leader, the impact i have on everything, and the inability to be defined as just one thing.
in some of the romance languages definite articles like "the" have a gender assignation: masculine-il, el, le; feminine-la. in english you cannot pin me down, stick me with a label, expect gender stereotypes. i can be both.
i am an essential function word. i am a part of something larger and connected.

the what? the person I am, the person I can be.
the unique identifier, the uniquely identified.
the will to do more than the sum of the whole.
the 2nd grade teacher who critiqued my overuse of the word.
the awakening of my soul
Much like wear, I will not be appending or prepending any words to make "the" into something else. People often want "end" to be located near "the", I had hoped that having "the" on my right calf would make that less of an issue, but the question "Where's the rest of it?" and "Is end on the other one?" seem most common. I agree with "the", "the" has more impact than one would think at first glance.

I'm common, yes. But I can make anything unique, particular, outstanding, generic, proper, or absolute.
It's more powerful a word than I ever realized.


Read my (definite) article.

        the the
        the the
        the the
        thethethe the
        the the
        the the
        the thethethet ethethet
        the the eth he th
        the the the the the
        the the the thethethethe
        he the the the
        et the the he
        the the the ethethet

There are a lot of definitions for the word "the" in the dictionary:
        1. Because of that. Used before a comparative: thinks the worse of you after this mistake.
        2. To that extent; by that much: the sooner the better.
        3. Beyond any other: enjoyed reading the most.
et cetera, et cetera.
Mine is at the beginning of a sentence: The
It is disjointed, floating on my upper arm like a choked off secret.
I'm glad it's a start. The sooner the better.
francesca, Halifax

It's the beginning of something, even if it's just the beginning of something small.
When it peeks out of the top of my shirt the question is always "The what?" and the answer is "just The."

Each time we encounter a person we choose to assign this label. Or, not.

Them. Us and them. Different but the same. Them who judge, them who accept. I am both these things.

I am not one thing; I am "these" things.

they has two meanings for me:
1. When anyone says "You know what they say...", everyone is now referring
to me.
2. My word is on my foot so if I'm feeling low I can look down at my foot
and see that they (family, friends, etc) are always there for me and with me
each step of the way.

they: a plural. i am a plural - multiple people in multiple places. parts of everyone i've met, touched, seen, loved.

it is pure perfection that I am the word "they". as a Libra with several planets there, and Venus conjunct my ascendant , and Jupiter in the 7th house of partnerships, I am a very "I-thou" kind of person. One-on-one. truly happy when I am resonating with one other special person..."they". not only I. not he or she, or me. "they" go forth into the universe , a private reality of just two.

My favorite definition: to make or become more intense, intricate, or complex...
All of my other tattoos are reminders of the importance of strength and the inevitability of change and growth in life... so my word fits quite nicely.
Every time my word is said (which is somewhat infrequently), I smile.
Sometimes people think it has some sort of sexual connotation. Perhaps I shouldn't have put such a stimulating word so close to my breast. ;)

One of 26 Definitions: into a state of consciousness; out of unconsciousness
When I decided to apply I wanted to be a part of something larger than myself. Being a word in the story gave me that chance. It opened my eyes to something truly big and I'm proud to tell people about it. I get many odd looks but I also get many who are amazed that I am a part of something like this. I am a living word and that's something that only we know anything about. I'm thankful that Shelley chose to do this and that I am a part of it.

Pronunciation: \tə, tu̇, ˈtü\
1: used as a function word to indicate movement or an action or condition suggestive of movement toward a place, person, or thing reached

I'd love to talk to other words or meet anyone around me! I live in Lawrenceville, GA, but travel between here and Sevierville, TN about once a month, so if anyone wants to meet up, I'd love it!

Some days after I received my word I was rejoicing over it. It has so many
meanings! When I remarked on this to my father, he looked puzzled and said
he could only think of one. I laughed and explained, "It's a verb, to
undress, a noun, a state of being, and a command - like, "You! Undress!"
After a moment's hesitation he agreed with me and congratulated me on my
good fortune at receiving this word, one with so many meanings. I have
placed it on my body in such a way that it is only visible when I am in that

I'd never had a tattoo before, so I was a little nervous about the pain. What if I got a really, really long word? Could I stand it?
And then it came: us. Lower case U, lower case S, period. Short, yes, and definitely sweet. No boring "an" or hesitant "or." Nothing negative, nothing selfish.
Us! We're in this together.

What a word for a commitment-phobic! And to ink it permanently on my body… it’s a good thing I’m not single or I’d probably have trouble with that word…. (Maine)

–verb (used without object)
* to become cognizant or aware of something; awaken; waken: to wake to the true situation.
* to be or continue to be awake:
* to remain awake for some purpose.

I didnt really connect with this word until I had a discussion with a friend who enlightened me that it may be, in fact, the perfect word for me. I was in a relationship that was keeping me in this terrible hibernation. I've recently gotten out of it .. and feel more alive, more awake than ever before. Since I've sent in my documentation, I've made it even hold even deeper meaning for me.

I'm in Los Angeles ... feel free to contact me here.

When i got walk. i was really at a loss for where to put it ... but since my fiance and i got words in sequence He being The the beginning of the next sentence .. we decided to get our words in the same place... so on the back of our necks the words are.. when i get asked about my word most people think it means walk away or im walking away... or like im trying to be rude so i hafta explain .. about the story im part of. Jacqueline from Portland, OR

i thought i would put it on my back, because wanting for me was like a monkey on my back ... but i needed to be positive and not be so negative in my life at the time and decided to have fun and put it under my pantie line nice and big.
at the time i was really wanting babies and really needed to just Let Go of Wanting that and all sorts of things to be different in my life ...
turns out i had fun with it, i could just flash my husband and not even need to talk, he knew what i Wanted ;)
turns out we have had two lovely little girls
turns out the jokes on me many times in my life as i found out how often i am naked in front of people and need to tell them about my word lol
Thank you Shelley for me this word has been so powerful in helping with my sex life, to help remind me to stop wanting for things in life and for not taking life so seriously all the time


It's what I do. I watch. Look but don't touch. Now it's what I am. It's a reminder. You don't always have to do something. Sometimes it's enough just to watch.


basis of the fluids for all living organisms,
a liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain
essential for life

waving (v.), To move freely back and forth or up and down in the air, as branches in the wind.
Waving... not drowning.


this word, in the first person, plural.
a binding contradiction.
homogeneous - a unification of the same and different; the self-and-other
heterogeneous - the self. the other. wholly seperate yet conditionally linked.
it rests symmetrical, at the crest of my back.
it provides balance.
it is linked with my mother's 'call'.
when they notice it, people often trace their fingers along the contours of my word.
there is, i suppose, something remarkably appropriate in this act.
-- (toronto, ontario, canada)

I am amazed at how everyone has attached such personal meaning to their words. For me it was the connection with the thousands of other words. That is enough for me. For we.


"we are a family now" - arottenmind(myself)

No, it is not original if you ask me whether I'm going to get "under" tattooed next to it.

2019. So much time has passed. When. I think of all the other words. Have I ever met another word and not known it? I see my word often, but do I remember my part in the story? Are words meaningless without the context of their neighbors?

Where am I going? Where have I been? Most importantly, Where am I now?
At or in what place: Where is the telephone?
In what situation or position: Where would we be without your help?
From what place or source: Where did you get this idea?
To what place; toward what end: Where is this argument leading?
(from American Heritage Dictionary)


See how gracefully the lobster and the walrus all advance.
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you, won't you join the dance?

world photo world2resize.jpg
We are of the spirit
Truly of the spirit
Only can the spirit
Turn the world around
- Harry Belafonte, "Turn the World Around"
I now bear a word on my upper back, centered above my heart chakra, carried near my heart. I do not have the world on my back. I have the world behind me, and I stand before it willingly.
My thanks to Capt. Gordon Straub and the folks at Sacred Marks Sanctuary for giving me my word!

"In a world of apples, and kisses, and shoes
He wasted his wishes on wishing."
Lester by Shel Silverstein

"to be wholly engrossed in; to be entirely dependent on; to be covered with"
Could not be a better word to describe myself.
Placement of wrapped on left upper shin at knee joint.
Riverside, Ri resident
SHELLEY WHY NO UPDATES? I've Had my word since November of 2003, I know for a fact you have all my paperwork.. WHY DON'T I HAVE MY STORY?

you  (yoo)
       1. Used to refer to the one or ones being addressed.
       2. Used to refer to an indefinitely specified person; one.
Basic definitions are obvious. The more I looked into it it was the acronyms I was interested in.
you - your own universe (which I have been told I am always in)
you - your opinion unwanted (which is always is)
What's your definition of you? email me at