My hands

I’ve been dealing with boxes a lot lately, as we’ve been moving several carloads of stuff into our little house. When I’m done with a box, I cut it up with an X-ACTO knife and toss it in the recycling bin. I love these knifes — they’re easy to use, and I like that I can use my hands to break them down.

I just slashed up a number of boxes, outside under the sun. It was the first time I was outside today — I’ve been in front of a screen all day, which is normal. Is it strange that cutting boxes with an X-ACTO knife brings me pleasure? Some kind of release from the routine I’ve built for myself? So sedentary, my days.

I am not good with my hands, I recently told my husband. I am naive and helpless in a DIY world — a hard but not surprising fact I’ve learned in this process of building and moving into a little house.

I told him I wished that working with my hands came naturally, like it does for my father. I wish I could look at an object, and parts and pieces, and know what to do with them. I sometimes wish I could build with physical materials, rather than shape with words — that I could manifest creativity a different way.

And yet my ability to build sentences is nothing special, and when I write, I often don’t create what I intended anyway. But when I cut a box apart with a sharp tool, I know exactly what the result will be. It’s a small thing, but satisfying.

Published by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

I am an editor at Longreads. For over a decade, I've worked on curation, editing, and storytelling projects across Automattic, including

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