Shelley Jackson‘s project is this: to write an entire story on the flesh of humans. It is possible the most original and inarguably genius project the Literary Man has ever encountered. This is taking Literary Tattoos to a whole new level.


A Single Word from Shelley Jackson's Nascent Masterpiece

This the description of Shelley’s project, including rules for participation, which the Literary Man is strongly considering:

Author Shelley Jackson invites participants in a new work entitled “Skin.” Each participant  must agree to have one word of this story tattooed upon his or her body. The text will be published nowhere else, and the author will not permit it to be summarized, quoted, described, set to music, or adapted for film, theater, television or any other medium. The full text will be known only to participants. In the event that insufficient participants come forward to complete the first and only edition of the story within the author’s lifetime, the incomplete version will be considered definitive.

Blushes. No Kidding.

So far, Shelley has received 21,894 emails about this project. According to her latest status report, there are still 646 words yet to be assigned. What word would the Literary Man receive? He would of course hope for the word literary, but what if it were something strange, like, well, strange. It would be difficult to walk around with the word strange tattooed on one’s flesh, but this is, perhaps, the price of real art.


There’s also this interesting trove of Literary Tattoos.