In April I moved my dad from the ranch-style house he and my mom bought in 1971 to a two-bedroom next door to us. The word “moved” encompasses many verbs, including drive, open, close, clean, pick up, put down, drop off, pack, unpack, trash, donate, wrap, unwrap, haul, rip, call, schedule, text an army of helpers. By the start of week five, my hands were tired. No, tired doesn’t touch it. Let’s add more words: bruised, twitchy, achy, sore.
Do something by hand? No thank you. I started typing this intro and had to stop and let my hands rest, along with my brain.
Sometimes we use our hands too much. When that happens our words can become just as stuck as when we use them too little.
I’m starting to use my hands again. Last night I made a batch of vegan chocolate peanut butter cookies. Tomorrow I’ll try plunking out something from my mom’s hymnal, which I discovered in the move. The words are coming back too.
I need to keep in mind these lessons about the relationship between hands and words because I have one more hand-intensive task this month — moving my daughter into her first apartment.
Prompt Guidelines and Options
1. When swiping on a Kindle or turning pages was too labor-intensive, Audible was there to fulfill my reading needs. I finished two books, one fiction and one non-fiction, letting my thoughts wander down pleasant paths while I worked with my hands. Try listening to something this week—music or a podcast, while you work with your hands.
2. If your hands fail you, fear not! We live in a digital age, in which words can be dictated. These last few weeks I learned to use apps to record thoughts. Try recording something this week.
3. It was a good month for haiku. Try out a haiku, using different kinds of pens, pencils, crayons, and paper.
That’s it! We look forward to what you create — or at least think about creating — when you do it By Hand.
Browse more By Hand
- Children’s Book Club: ‘Dry’ by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman - April 9, 2021
- Reading Generously: ‘How to Write a Form Poem’ by Tania Runyan - April 2, 2021
- By Heart: ‘One Art’ + New Tess Gallagher Challenge - March 26, 2021