By Nancy Casey
Before you begin to write today, walk around. Pick up a few objects and set them back down again. As you do so, notice your hands. How do they know what to do? Watch how your fingers get ahold of something tiny, like a coin. When you pick up something a little bit heavy, notice how your hand grips it, each finger holding on the exact right place and the exact right amount.
Sit down and lay your forearms on the empty surface of a table. Turn one palm up and the other one down. Then rotate your wrists gently left and right and roll your hands back and forth so one palm turns up as the other one turns down. Don’t stretch. Let them flop. Move the rest of your body a little bit, too.
As your hands move on the table in front of you, think of the many things a pair of hands can do. We use them to operate zippers, cars and snowshovels. Hands know how to catch, throw, point, scratch, and wave.
Drum your fingers on the table. Watch them go. Pretend your fingers are little people and let them walk across the surface. Float your hands in front of your face. Wiggle your fingers and watch them do tricks.
Imagine the insides of your hands. Such little bones! A knuckle is such a tiny thing compared to a knee. The muscles, ligaments and tendons in there must be as skinny as strings, yet they connect and criss-cross like complicated machinery.
Your precious hands. They have been working for you all your life. Helping you get what you want. Helping you hold onto it. You never even have to tell them.
When your hands hurt, you probably make them do things anyway. Most people do. Now you are asking them to do this writing thing. There has to be a way to do it without making your hand cramp or ache.
Take up your pen and write about what your hands have already done for your today. What have they touched? What have they brought? What have they made? What have they told you?
As you write, do not allow your hand to experience any discomfort. If it feels tired, or begins to hurt, write bigger, or sloppier. Hold the pen with different fingers or in your fist. Change the way you are sitting. Use pillows. Write with the opposite hand. Make a mess of the page if that’s what it takes to fill it with writing without straining your hand.
When you have finished, put the date somewhere on the page and give it a title. For an extra touch, lay your hand down on the page and trace it. You can see an example here: http://www.authornancycasey.com/precious-hands
Throughout the week, pay attention to hands—yours and other people’s. Collect details that your can write down later. Notice what hands do and how they do it. Notice what they look like—bumps and bruises, veins and fingernails. Pay attention to what people say about their hands.
When you write this week, make it all about hands. Begin by doing something kind and relaxing with your own hands. Recall some of the hands you have noted in your daily life. Write about them. As you write, do whatever it takes to make sure your hand never hurts.
Tell yourself this—
Nancy Casey is a writer and teacher who has lived in rural Latah County for many years. You can see more of her work at http://www.authornancycasey.com
If you like the idea of writing every week, but want to do it with others in a class setting, you are welcome to attend “Writing Journeys” with Ginger Rankin on Wednesdays from 4-5 at the Latah Recovery Center. The class does exercises from this blog and other things as well.