Katelyn Long’s “the small talk:” or why you should ask Katelyn where she is from if you meet her

Katelyn Long is so far the only person we know who has connections to the Lexington, Cincinnati, and Boulder Tattoo Projects.

Katelyn wanted to participate in the Lexington Tattoo Project when we launched it almost three years ago. Because at the time she was a student of Transylvania University, where the two of us teach, she was automatically ineligible for participation (we had only 2 rules that disqualified people; being a Transylvania student was one of them). That she was also a babysitter for us and gave our kids swimming lessons did not help her :).

Then the Cincinnati Tattoo Project happened, but Katelyn heard about it a bit late. So she got on the waiting list…until someone backed out!

Significantly, Katelyn just graduated from Transylvania and is headed to graduate school at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Here is Katelyn’s story:

“I was born at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati in 1992. We lived in Cincinnati for a year before my family moved just south of the Ohio river, in that part of Kentucky where people say they’re from Cincinnati. I suppose I never realized how important home was to me until I moved to Lexington to start college. The majority of my family still lives in Cincinnati and I usually see them only around Christmas time. I almost always miss the WEBN fireworks because the first day of school is always the next morning.  I miss ice-skating in Fountain Square, because (sorry, Lexington) Triangle Park just isn’t the same.

These are all things I realize I love about the area I am from, things I never really appreciated until I moved farther away. I now know never to take them for granted. I also know that the last stop to get a Cincinnati-style three-way is the Skyline in Dry Ridge, KY.

One of the reasons I really liked the phrase ‘the small talk:’ is because that’s how everyone starts to know each other, through small talk. One of the topics always covered is where you’re from. Right next to my phrase are four little bees I drew to symbolize the bee farm I grew up on. Where I grew up had such an impact on where I am today, and that was a good enough reason for me to permanently get it inked into my skin (though my mom might not agree). I now have a permanent reminder of the city I was so fortunate to live in. I love sharing my story of the meaning behind ‘the small talk:’. This fall, when I move to Boulder, Colorado for graduate school, I can’t wait to share my story with the people there. Maybe I’ll even be lucky enough to meet people from the Boulder Tattoo Project and they can tell me their stories too.”

Katelyn Long

Katelyn Long’s “the small talk:” (photograph by Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova)

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