I’ve learnt a new word today: ‘chirality’ refers to your handedness. 90% of the world’s population is thought to be dextral – right-handed – and just 10% left-handed or ‘sinistral’. A rare few might be ambidextrous, particularly if they’ve made a point of practicing, a few more might be ‘mixed-handed’ where the dominant hand depends on the task in hand (so to speak). Mixed-handedness feels a little lame as a term compared with its fellows. Perhaps ‘Melangal’ from the French ‘melange’ or mixture could add a bit more spice? (Spot the lateral-link to a famous sci-fi series there…)
Whilst tidying my study the other week I happened upon a writing exercise I’d tried years ago. The task was to free-write using my non-dominant hand.I remember it was ….slow – quite different from the usual free-writing process where you write as quickly as you can, one word after another. It was frustrating and as you can see it thrust me back into the childhood process of learning to write for the first time! Apologies to Mrs Winn for my unseemly outburst at the end…
Some say that writing with your non-dominant hands forges a link to the other side of the brain than that which we usually prioritise. Who knows what alter-egos, spectres or doppelgangers we might be able to tap into with this exercise? But, it’s also simply an entertaining diversion that may or may not throw up writing we can develop later. For those teaching creative writing this would be good one to try on those long, stuffy afternoons in over-heated classrooms where no-one can settle. It’s light, and throwaway, but it also forces participants to slow down and to concentrate… and it’s amusing to see who can’t help stick their tongue out of the side of their mouth while they do it.
So, set your timer and for ten minutes write with your non-dominant hand. How does it differ to a normal free-writing session? Do you happen upon anything unexpected or entertaining? Do you find yourself reliving your schooldays? How does it make you feel?