• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 05

A Writer’s Hand

At the store for deluxe body parts, I thumb the catalogue until I see what I want: a long slim hand, described as ‘A Writer’s Hand’. It is elegant and ethereal, with elongated thin bones, so unlike my own large square farmer’s wife’s hands, fit only for making pies, puddings and dumplings. It’s exactly what I’ve always wanted!

I ask the assistant if I can try it on; she helps me unscrew my own, and screw in this exquisite specimen in its place. I imagine all the spectacular poetry and novels such a hand could write, so unlike my own pedestrian scribbling, wrung out of me like dirty water from a damp dishcloth.

On the bus on the way home, I notice strange stirrings in my writer’s hand. An edgy restlessness, a frenzied searching for a pencil or a keyboard. People start to stare at its bizarre fluttering and flickering. Meanwhile ideas begin to explode in my brain like fireworks, embryonic books itching to be born.

At home I sit at my desk and grasp my pencil. A tsunami of creativity pours from my hand as I fill page after page with a graceful cursive script. No sooner than one poem is finished, another bubbles up, impatient for creation. I keep at it like this hour after hour until blisters appear on my fingers, and my neck is sore.

Hoping that the flood has abated, I settle in front of the TV. But everything I watch starts off the deluge of ideas again, which stack up in my mind like dinner plates. I sit back at the desk, manically unleashing new work with my now excruciating writer’s hand.

In bed that night, my dreams are vivid and intense. My hand wakes me at 3 am with its frantic air-writing. My face in the mirror is haggard and tormented, like some half-starved novelist’s who has spent months in a garret scratching out a masterpiece.


A Writer’s Hand

In the morning, I am back at the body parts store. I ask for my own hand back, explaining my experiences with the writer’s hand. The assistant agrees to an exchange adding, ‘What do you expect, it’s a writer’s hand, that’s what it does’. I gladly go home to my puddings and pies.