Q&A: Renee Parrill

  • Photo by Jodi Miller
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From the February 9, 2012 edition

Fate Tattoo owner Matt Parrill’s ink tells an amazing story, yet it took his wife’s memoir to share the entire thing. Recently published on amazon.com as an e-book, Renee Parrill’s “True Till Death” is funny and heartbreaking, endearing and tragic. It details why the two grew closer, how she rescued him from self-destruction and what they learned along the way.

She shared more about her new book.

Matt and I were both from Newark. We had a mutual friend, and they just showed up at my house one night. He had a girlfriend, so I just thought I would steal him away from her. That was my plan. It worked. I knew I could outlast her.

When I was 16, I knew I had a really good story. I didn’t know how it would end. I just knew that it was crazy — and that, no matter what happened, it was a good story. I thought that for 20 years, and then started to write it. It was because of him.

Matt’s skin truly is the rough draft of my story. To write “True Till Death,” I sat down with him and wrote down every tattoo he has. I wrote down the date he got it and where. I created my own timeline from things I remember happening. Then I matched these two things together, and it wrote itself.

Matt has my name tattooed on him three times. He has it at the top of his chest, then he has my initial behind his ear, then he has my name in a rose on his arm. We’ve been together for 21 years.

I have three tattoos. I’m a horrible wimp, though. I have a rose on my ankle, a grapevine on my other ankle and Matt’s name on my hip.

When you come through something like he did, you want people to know. We still don’t know why he made it. It has always been a mystery. For the people who knew him spinning out of control — and know him now — it is a different person. People need to know that’s possible. They need to know that you can pull up out of that.

A lot of people wonder why I stayed with him. I remember just feeling like there was no choice for me. I still feel that way. People get together, and they break up. I don’t think that way.

This is the story of someone in your corner, no matter what.