Punctuation is important, even in tattoos

On October 12, 2012 by Eden M. Kennedy

Tuesday night I went out to UCSB with my friend Jennifer to see Rufus Wainwright. It was a great show, it was just Rufus solo, and he seems like a dear person who was born with/has carefully developed a tremendous vocal range as well as nice, shaggy hair and bare feet and a sparkly scarf, and honestly, sitting there I felt like it would have been okay if he just decided to sing all his songs, forever, and I could just stay there and listen and feel like it was a fine use of the rest of my life. If saying this doesn’t put too far much ballast in the hull of my Rufus Boat: the man totally refreshed my faith in art. When an artist opens up his or her heart on stage like that — if we’re receptive, our hearts open up in response. Maybe you get that feeling through religion, or shopping, or being in love, but a really skillful songwriter can unlock all those little cabinets inside you. Or cabinets inside me, at least, I don’t know what you have inside of you; maybe your big inner ironing cupboard is always ajar, your iron steaming, your spray starch bottle full. (We have one of those old-fashioned ironing-board cupboards in our kitchen — with no board in it, unfortunately — so when I was thinking of something you might have in your chest that wasn’t what I have, which is 26 sticky little typesetter’s drawers, but instead just one, big available thing, ironing board cupboard is what came to mind.)

At one point Rufus covered his face with his hand and bent over the microphone and mumbled, “I spend way too much time Googling myself,” and we all chuckled at his shameful secret. And then he mumbled even more shamefully, “And then I read the comments.” As someone who has lived part of her life on the Internet for — oh! Next Monday will be my eleventh blog anniversary! So, for eleven years I’ve been doing this Internet self-exposure thing, and if there’s one thing I’ve stopped doing it’s Googling myself. I just don’t want to know who thinks I’m an idiot, it’s not going to do me any good unless you really have a plan to help me with all my problems, then I’m totally willing to listen. But you’re going to have to make an appointment. In conclusion, I don’t want to be responsible for any comments that might hurt another person’s feelings, so if you read this and feel inclined to tell the world what you really think about Rufus Wainwright, make sure it’s in rhymed couplets.

Driving up Chapala Street

Me: “Look at the tattoo on that guy’s forearm: Love Laughter Light.”

Jackson (cupping his hands around his mouth): “YOU FORGOT THE COMMAS.”

On Instagram I am Toasteroven, I forget why

Lastly, because I’m finishing this in a dreadful hurry to get Jackson to school on time: I am reading the new J.K. Rowling book, The Casual Vacancy. Is anybody else reading it? Because I feel like I’m the only person in the world who thinks it’s terrific. I will let you know if that opinion still holds when I’m done, but so far, so good.



20 Responses to “Punctuation is important, even in tattoos”

  • I don’t know lots of Rufus’ stuff, but I have listened to “Foolish Love” about a bezillion times. It’s beautiful.

    Hi, Rufus. Hope you are doing well. You are talented, and I imagine you are also a pretty sweet person.

  • I love Rufus Wainwright, you, and Jackson’s punctuation prowess. (I’m getting ready to buy the J.K. Rowling book. I’m going into it knowing that it’s NOT Harry Potter.) Congratulations on eleven years. You have provided love laughter (and) light to many, and I’m hoping for at least eleven (plus fifty) more years of Fussy.

  • Rufus Wainwright live is always a treat. I’m glad to hear he’s unlocking your cabinets. I could use some of that.

    I’m reading the new J.K. Rowling and really liking it so far. I do find myself reading it with much greater scrutiny than I have read other books lately. It’s almost like I have a fear of it not being great and with every page turn I sigh a little because I am enjoying it. Are the reviews bad? I have been avoiding reading anything about it.

    • I read one review that said it lacked the “magic” of the Harry Potter books (ugh), and I’ve spoken with a few patrons who were underwhelmed, so I got the feeling that it wasn’t being so well received. Boo, I think it’s much better written than the Potter books.

  • Glad you enjoyed Rufus! I enjoy reading this blog, so as long as you keep writing, I’ll be here reading.

  • Heh. Watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High & noticed one of the kids who buys scalped tickets from Mike Damone in the opening scene is wearing a UCSB shirt, and then I come here and you mention…UCSB. Cosmic coincidence? I think not.

    • Eric Stoltz and Anthony Edwards, who were extras in that film (stoner surfers), are both from Santa Barbara

  • Oh man, the video of him doing “One Man Guy” with his sister Martha on back up just SLAYS me. It makes me get teary, every time. I want to run away with Rufus so that he can sing me to sleep every night. Except that I love my husband, and Rufus loves his. Whatever. A girl can dream. swoon.


  • I listen to Jay Mohr’s podcast periodically and he’s going to have Rufus on as his next guest. He usually posts new episodes on Fridays but it’s not up yet; if you’re interested maybe check out Mohr Stories on Monday.

  • Punctuation is important _especially_ in tattoos! You don’t want poor syntax permanently engraved on your body, after all, right? (I have a sentence from a Murakami story tattooed around my wrist, and when I was getting it done, the tattoo guy asked “Do you want the period at the end like you have it typed out here?” and I practically shouted “Yes! It’s a sentence, it needs punctuation!” So I guess it is safe to say that I have Strong Feelings about punctuation…)

  • Congratulations on your impending eleventh blogniversary!
    (I love these fake portmanteau words, and I don’t care what people think)

  • Music, art, blog-reading, fantastic TV… all valid forms of human connection and seeing part of yourself in someone else’s self-exposing self-expression. I will stand by that. I might even get it tattooed on myself somewhere.

  • I finished “A Casual Vacancy” and loved it. I stayed away from the reviews and I am glad so that I could enjoy it for itself.

    Also would love to see Rufus Wainwright. I had that same experience at Edward Sharpe.

  • I have a copy of A Casual Vacancy waiting for me at the library. I don’t have time to pick it up until Monday, so that copy is taunting other patrons in the meantime.

    I’ve seen too many (Minnesota) marriage amendment commercials, because I read the Dear Parents note as “… your child’s group is ruining marriage…”

  • I’m LOVING The Casual Vacancy! I’m not finished with it yet, but I love her descriptions of people, feelings, situations. It all feels so raw and real.

  • You and Ann Patchett (who I adore)–read her blog at Parnassus books–she loved loved loved it.

  • My phone’s on vibrate for you.

  • Happy early 11th anniversary! And I can’t wait to read J.K. Rowling’s newest…the key to knowing if a book is great for me, however, is whether it can compel me to actually stay awake long enough to read an entire chapter at a time. It’ll just be nice to stop falling asleep at 8:30 p.m. every night with my youngest, then waking up at midnight and reading until I fall back asleep. I haven’t found a book yet that keeps me awake till 1 a.m. … Maybe Casual Vacancy will be the one!