Writing about someone’s hands is a great way to describe a person or a character without making it sound like a list. When I introduce hand writing to students, I show samples of pieces I have written and also pieces from other students. We take time to talk about what sticks with us about the writing. Sometimes I will show a sample of hand writing that sounds listy or boring so they can talk about what the writer could do to make the writing interesting. I tell students that they will have a chance to write about hands in their writer’s notebooks. When the kids head back to their seats to have a go at hand writing, I ask them to think of a person that they care about and tell what their hands look like. I encourage them to write about what the person did with their hands and how it felt to hold their hand. Here is my latest hand writing.
I hadn’t held her hand in a long time. I imagined it would feel a lot like mine. My daughter, Sam, didn’t wear rings much or paint her nails much. Her nails were barely visible, chewed down so far that sometimes they bled. Wherever she went, she left little piles of skin behind that she had gnawed and peeled from her nail beds. I figured that was why she could text so fast. She didn’t have any fingernails to get in the way. I held Sam's hand a lot when she was small. I remember gripping her hand so she wouldn’t run away from me. My daughter was a hard child to keep nearby. She ran away at Food Town. She ran away at the mall. She ran down the sidewalk. One time during a garage sale, she ran right down our driveway and into the road. I got ahold of her hand just as the car brakes squealed. I cried hysterically as I dragged her back up that driveway. I think my screams scared her more than the car. I always knew when Sam was going to run. She’d laugh crazy and her eyes would get all wild and dark. I’d like to hold her hand again without her pulling away. Maybe when she gets older. Maybe when she has a little runner of her own.