Wednesday, November 28, 2007

freshly tattooed

Muir Doodle TattooI am now the proud owner of a John Muir doodle tattoo. Good thing I like the guy.

The tattoo —no photo because it's difficult to take a photo of your own right arm with a cameraphone when you're right-handed— looks pretty much like the doodle shown here.

It was pretty funny when I handed the image to the tattoo artist and said "it needs to retain its crappy-doodle-ness," and he just sort of looked at me like "are you sure?" and I said just go with it. He was a really good sport and did a good job. At one point, after starting, he did that nice customer service thing where he asked if I was ok, and I said "yeah, this isn't my first rodeo" and he had to stop because he was laughing. I get on well with tattoo guys.

I never did the transcription of the letter in which the doodle was found, but I've done part of it below. I say "part of it" because I didn't need all of the letter—it had nothing to do with my research, so I didn't scan all of it from the microfilm...I just liked the doodle and the doodle was on the first page. So, you get the first page.

The letter (dated July 23, 1888) is from John Muir to his daughter, Annie Wanda Muir, who was 7 years old at the time. He wrote the letter while in Victoria, BC, but was talking about the California mountains.
My Dear Wanda,
When I was at Mount Shasta on my way up here I was walking along thinking about the changes that had been made since I last climbed the old mountain—the railroad and the cars and the sawmills and the lots of new houses. I was thinking how different everything about the foot of the mountain looked when all of a sudden I saw a bear. A brown hairy muzzle with long teeth and a wet black nose. I was startled at first and said hulou old fellow what are you doing here. Then up he jumped like a man and looked at me with his cunning eyes and held out his arms and spread his claws and big paws. Then I saw that he was chained and I gave him an apple and he ate it up then I ventured to walk close up to him and pat him on the head as if he were a dog. Then he took my hand in his mouth—as if he might bite it off and he did bite it a little. But I yanked it away before he could get a good hold...
I really think the man should have written children's stories. His letters to his kids are really great.

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