Bent Wrists Lesson #1: Carp in Tunnel Syndrome

Today starts the beginning of my Bent Wrists series of Writing Lessons.  Whether you plan to write with a pencil, pen, or use your computer keyboard, your wrists might get a little bent after a while.

This is called CARP IN TUNNEL syndrome—which is named after the 1983 Hoover Dam overflow in which lots of fish, especially CARP, went over the spillways and down the scary dam tunnels and became quite bent out of shape because of it.  As a teenager, I loved talking about those dam fish, the dam tunnels and the dam overflow (it was the only time I could legally swear in front of my mom…and I abused the privilege heartily).

But anyway, when you write a lot, your wrists can become quite bent just like those unlucky carp that went over the spillway and were sucked down the tunnel of doom that looked a bit like the sarlaac from Star Wars!  OUCH!

Never fear though…I have some cures to work through this syndrome if you get sucked into the whirlpool of misery toward the tunnel of doom.  Try one of these three remedies, depending on your mood, and see if it doesn’t help bend your wrists back into shape.

  1. Use ergonomic equipment when you write (wrist rest, mouse pad…things to baby your PO WITTLE WIST).  If you’re using a pen and pencil, you’re doomed, but there are proper ways to rest your elbow and wrist when you use a computer so that your wrist doesn’t become a bent carp (take a look at where the carp came out the other side; think of the stories they could have told if they survived the dam sarlaac).
  2. Take breaks when your wrist hurts.  Walk around and flail your hand about to work out all the kinks.  If it’s especially awful, you might even go fishing and think about the unlucky carp in Lake Mead who didn’t take a break and ended up being bent and broken.  [sidenote:  It was very fun to watch those carp go over the spillway to their doom in 1983, so your family might enjoy watching you run around the house flailing your wrist as well.)
  3. Use positive thinking to will your “carp in tunnel” away.  You do this by spitting on your bent wrist, saying aloud the words—There’s no place like home—and then clicking your shoes together and getting back to your writing.  This one’s very hard for me because I’m spitting challenged, so I usually try the first two remedies and hope they solve my problem.

There you go.  You know all that is important to keep with your writing.  Later when we get to Lesson 2, we can really get down to business.  So I’ll end today’s lesson with a nice little quote from Tess Gallagher.  It goes very well with what we’ve talked about (especially when you have to walk around in front of others flopping your wrists).

“…just realize that we start out in these very awkward ways, and we do look a little stupid as we draft, and that’s all right…You have to be willing to go into the chaos and bring back the beauties.”

Oh yeah!  I hope you’re ready to step into chaos!  Stay tuned for Lesson 2!  Happy Writing.