A Sinister Subject

liril at gmx.net liril at gmx.net
Sun Apr 8 11:37:40 EDT 2001

Ven wrote:

> Are left handers more prone to writers cramp like conditions if they
> twist thei r hands round to write? And does it lead to slower writing?

I suppose you get used to it. As I mentioned, I turn the paper, not my hand,
and I write fast and legible, and never had any problems with cramps or sinews
(and that's quite common with law students in Germany as we have to write many
long exams). But, as I read in a book about handedness, the best way is
(supposed to be) not to turn the paper, but rather hold the pen a bit
different and allow your writing to tilt to the left. I tried, and thought it
looked ugly, and apart from that I think I'm to old to change.

There are some interesting books about that issue, e.g. "The knot in the
brain" by Barbara Sattler. (German, and not translated afaik) about the
problems lefties can get when forced to use the right hand (among them memory
troubles and stuttering). She also discusses in which cases one should "change
back". I found "Everything with the left hand" by Rik Smits very enjoyable.
The original is dutch, I think. It contains lots of interesting theories about
handedness, as well as anecdotes. "Left-handed people exist to make the life
of neurologists more difficult" (or something like that), because the origin
is still not totally explained. It happens, e.g., that of identical twins one
is lefthanded and the other not, which is something of a blow to the genetical

About the direction of writing: some lefthanders can do mirror wrinting
without difficulties (Leonardo da Vinci is just a famous example). I can't
now, but when I started to write, I did this. My mother would write my name
correctly, and I would try to copy it and mirror it instead. And I couldn't
see the difference. I also had trouble with the number 9...


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