Tobias Buckell is the New York Times bestselling author of such books as Crystal Rain, Halo: The Cole Protocol, and most recently, Hurricane Fever [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], a techno-thriller about heavy weather and Caribbean spies. Toby and I have pretty much come up together as writers, and it’s been great to see his success over the years. He also has a pretty badass writing tattoo, which he talks about below. (Click the picture for a close-up.)
It’s a memento mori of a skull and crossbones, a call out to my growing up on ships in the Caribbean. And then underneath, instead of crossbones, I have a pen and a pencil. And then in bastardized Latin I have the phrase “CREO AUT MORI.” Rough translation: “Create or Die.” I got it to remind myself to keep creating.
Latin purists will ding me for the translation, as AUT MORI is infinitive, meaning it very technically translates as “I create or to die” but AUT MORI was often shorthanded on coats of arms as “OR DIE” so I used it. I like the 4 letter word 3 letter word 4 letter word symmetry when doing the visual design.
I got it while on a writing retreat in North Carolina. It took about three and a half hours, which is wild as I used to be absolutely terrified of needles.