In last month’s newsletter I challenged readers to study their hands and tell me their story. Sometimes it’s difficult to create a fresh prompt idea, but I stared at my own suspended fingers over the keyboard and there it was. Art teachers often have students draw their hands, an exercise more difficult than it sounds, so it’s not a unique idea. I frequently say, “Bah, humbug!” to people who complain of writer’s block because even if they may not know how to start their next scene, they can always look at whatever’s in front of them—their hands, for instance—and write a description.
But I don’t want to write a description today. I fear falling into clichéd comparisons between my hands and my mother’s, sentimental ponderings over how my hands have held and fed and clothed and disciplined my children, mundane expressions about how handy these gadgets have been over the years—the anatomy of tendons and veins, the soft cheeks and huggable bodies, the constant completion of tasks performed without a thought.