Monday, November 06, 2006

Pale Hands I Have Loved...

...beside the Shalimar.
Where are you now?
Who lies beneath your spell?
-Kashmiri Song.

Very beautiful. Very romantic.
Hands are one of our main metonymics. And, considering how vital they are, it's no great wonder that hand images as descriptors pervade our myths and legends, our songs and stories - as well as our cliches.
Iseult of the White Hands. Nuada Silver-Hand.
Red-handed, ham-handed. With an iron hand...
Don't think it's at all unusual then that I always notice the hands of people I meet, and tend to judge them by their hand-shakes.
Was smugly pleased to learn that in the shifting etymologies of surnames, the name of my character, the Champion Conyers, may be interpreted as hammer-fist, ie. the title of a sword-grip.
Naturally, I spare a line or two to describe/emphasize the hands of my hero. Suggest that a man's hands are important in any novel with a romantic element. After all, if they are going to be all over the heroine, we shouldn't neglect or ignore them.
~resisting puns here~
Do you pay much attention to hands in your/other stories?

BTW # 1: My Spy - Spy Scribbler - has a good post shining light in the carpel tunnel.

BTW #2: The painting is Britomart and Amoret. 1898. Mary F. Raphael. The fellow with pie plates has the sort of pretty-boy face that makes me want to wing ripe tomatoes.

BTW #3: My little bit, Night Light, is up at LitBits.


Anonymous said...

I liked your story, Bernita. I could feel the darkness through the crib rails.

EA Monroe said...

"Hands down!" a great story, Bernita. I have some frozen tomatoes in the freezer -- sure to put a dent in pie plates. ;}

Bernita said...

Thank you, Jason.
Goes along with your cabin the woods environment.

Hee, EA! Thank you.
Just my Inner Brat again.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I'll read your story later when I'm not at work. I've got silk shirts that I'm making that are due today!

Hands...I don't think I spent any time at all on my characters hands, except that my heroine has a habit of tapping on things!

That picute made me laugh! The guy looks to effeminate to be tough...maybe it's the pointy shoes that remind me of today's fashions...LOL!

Martyn said...

I agree with you regarding the importance of a handshake. You can tell an awful lot about a person by their handshake.

Bernita said...

Silk needs close attention, Bonnie! I find it a fuss to sew.
Maybe that's it. I know I just want to smack him one.

I think so, Martyn. Give me a firm hand, not languid fingers.

writtenwyrdd said...

I love the artwork you have been posting! Pre-Raphaelite art, Art Noveau and Art Deco are my favs.

As far as hands go, I never thought about hands in the way you describe. I think that hand gestures and eye movements are the primary descriptions used in writing. I try to not rely on them overly much.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Oh! What a cool little bitty story! I so admire succinct writing. It's tough to do!

This post really got me thinking. And I think -- I have never once described anyone's hands in any of my novels. Totally blew my mind to realize that. I wonder why I skip them? Sure, I put in gestures, but hand types and associated characteristics for some reason don't come into play.

Weird. Think there's a new technique to exploit here... thank you! :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh how lights and fluttering bats can frighten a little one. Even big folks sometimes. Very nice the way you got into her head.

Hands don't get the attention that a nose does.

Erik Ivan James said...

I agree 100% about the strength of a handshake being important. I expect a firm handshake for women as well as men.

On hands, mine are kinda ugly, kinda hairy, kinda big and kinda rough. Probably not very appealing to most heroines.

archer said...

I liked the story. Saki flavor, only more efficient.

Carla said...

Didn't you post that story here once before, Bernita? I remember liking the line "Father didn't know how big they grew at night!.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Written, glad you enjoy them.
I seldom know beforehand what is going up as a companion illustration.

Sonya, thank you. I always hope a post will start thoughts.

Hee, Steve, since it was my head, it was easy to remember.
Don't know why...most noses are unremarkable, unlike hands. I blame creative writing classes.

Big warm hands are very attractive to my Damie, Erik!

Thank you, Archer, that's a very nice compliment.

Bernita said...

Yes, I did, Carla, then cleaned it up a bit.Was happy with that line.

normiekins said...

i enjoyed your little bit....i remember as a child the monsters that were created from night light reflection of the stuffed animals and dolls.

i'm ashamed to admit that i judge people by their particular any person who gives you the fishy flappy one or the one where they just grab your fingers... i just want to scream.!!! I taught several classes in etiquette and this was the most popular annoyance for people.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Normiekins.
Yes. Yuck. I am repulsed particularly by cold, damp hands.
Mind you, I am epris when someone kisses my hand.

Gabriele C. said...

Nice story. I was afraid of the full moon as little child. It was so big and bright up there.

I'm totally into hands - beautiful hands, that is. I usually describe my characters' hands at some point in the story.

Though it's dangerous. Gabaldon lost me om Jamie whom I found not very attractive because of his huge hands. I don't like the big 'uns.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Gabriele.
Hands have to be in proportion - small hands look ridiculous on a big man - but not...clumsy.

Robyn said...

Interesting discussion. Fred Astaire cultivated a certain style for his dancing; if you'll notice, his fingers were always somewhat curled to make his hands appear smaller. His hands were large, too large, he felt, for a graceful dancer.

The fish-limp handshake always sets my lip to curling. Eww.

Bernita said...

And that's an interesting tid-bit, Robyn.
Yup, that's exactly what they feel like.

Savannah Jordan said...

Absolutely I pay attention to the hero's hands! In my vampire series, the hero is an artist--his life, his love, his passion is expressed through them. Granted, sometimes smeared through blood over her naked abdomen, but...that's my thing :)

Dennie McDonald said...

I do pay attention to peoples hands when I meet them. You can tell how hard someone works or often their nervous habits.

in books - I don't know that I have said what they look like but in my mind I could describe each and every characters' hands - weird -

Shesawriter said...

"Monsters that swept out of the shadows of the high, figured ceiling. They swooped through the golden halo by the stairs, back and forth, past her door."

Yup, that's jsut how it felt when I was a kid. I could see monsters in just about everything. Nice story, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Particularly important for your character, Savannah.

Definitely, Dennie, hands tell a great deal about a person.

Thank you, Tanya!

EA Monroe said...

Got so excited about hurling tomatoes this morning, that I forgot to mention -- yes, I write bits about hands as part of characterization. A hero might need a heroine to smooth a healing balm into his chaffed, calloused, or scarred hands; a beautiful hand might cause pain. Hands are an expressive part of body language and there's a tactile sense in touch that's as important as sight, sound, and smell.

spyscribbler said...

Mmmmm, yummmm ... I love hands. It's what I remember most about people, and I do stare at them and study them daily, LOL. Strangely enough, I don't describe them enough in my stories. Thanks for the reminder!

Hey, thanks for the link!