Memoir Piece - Left Handed Horror Story

Amazingly I learnt to write using my left hand. An achievement against the prevailing beliefs of the day. My very first teacher saw it as her mission in life to ‘fix’ the poor, wretched little boy suffering from what she clearly diagnosed as left handed disease. She must have thought to herself, "This child must be re formatted! If he remains left handed he will be forever condemned to writing in a scrawl that no one will be able to read. Ugly hand, ugly hand. "

...They tried to say it couldn't be done, it mustn't be done. They took the pencil out of my left hand and placed it in my right hand. It felt unnatural. It felt weird. It was not right. More to the point it was not left. I was not about to conform. At least they didn't try tying my hand behind my back. Watch me I said. I may be an oddball, left handed scribbler but I am a determined oddball. I mean how boring would the world be if everyone wrote with their right hand?

So I dug my toes in –and my hands too, I guess, and steadfastly resisted their horrible efforts to change my natural desire to be a left handed operator! Left handed liberty was what I wanted, and eventually I got the right to choose, –if you’ll pardon the pun. It was good enough for Alexander the Great to be left handed, not to mention Queen Victoria, Joan of Arc and Leonardo da Vinci as well as writers such as Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, and H.G. Wells. I figure I am in great company here.

Throughout my schooling I persisted with my left handed writing. I was not the fastest note-taker on the planet, but my writing was always easy to read. I was hell bent on not being viewed as a scrawling scribbler. Writing neatly actually became something of an obsession. I never forgave them for trying to control my natural desire to remain a ‘leftie.’ I am therefore, by definition, a left wing writer...


  1. And to think... I don't even know which ones of my kids are left-handed. I guess I don't see it as a deficit or a disease.

    Sorry that you had to deal with that as a young boy. That's dreadful Alan!

  2. I was thinking the same thing as Stacey: I don't even know which hand my students prefer. I do have one left-hander though, and his writing is not the very worst. :)


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