A palm reader once told me that I was an artist. I had everything it took. Not just the talent, or the drive, or the circumstance, but also the sensitivity, the perspicacity, the need. I had it all at thirty-one. She pointed to a tiny trapezoid with a caved-in side, a little leaning box formed by intersecting lines on my left palm. It glowed red under her scrutiny. “Shy,” I said. “Angry,” she replied. And true enough, the formerly unnoticed boxed-in flesh burned.
I am fifty-three now, and my first book will be published this spring. I have been writing for eighteen years. I have been longing to write since I was eight. For an entire decade, in my twenties, I forbade myself to write anything at all. I was unhappy. What was the point? The world had abundant evidence of sorrow already. And I had a burning trapezoid.
The hand-box has not changed, though it looks bigger now. I see it bigger. Constriction is a writer’s friend. Legions of spirits therein.