I don’t do bodies.

Earlier in the week, I squashed my finger in a door, one of those crazy accidents for which I have only myself to blame.

I pulled the door shut with one hand and somehow let my tall finger get stuck between the door and its jamb.

A heavy door, too, one that divides the noisy part of the house from the quiet.

It hurt like hell in those first few minutes and then became a dull thud over the rest of the day. It interfered with my capacity to type but only for a time.

All that remains now is a purple half-moon at the base of my cuticle, a purple that will turn black and most likely still be visible in six months’ time, the way these things go.

Fingernails take their time.

The night before I squashed my finger, I had a dream in which a man forced himself into my house. I connected these two events in my mind for obvious reasons.

When I opened the front door to this man in my dream, and took one look at him, this mountain of a man whose nose was bleeding: I pushed the door shut and tried to lock him out, only he forced his thick fingers between the door and the jamb and managed to prise it open.

Then he pushed me over onto my back and sat on top of me, with all his weight pinning me down against my will.

There’s not much else I remember of this dream only the sense that I was helpless against him.

How could I move his vast bulk and get up?

This body gives me grief, a finger stuck in the door, a hip that’s twinging at present with one of my vertebrae out of alignment, small ailments associated with carelessness and ageing,

I don’t do bodies.

My body is merely a suitcase into which I pack my thoughts and memories. Out of which I make noises and decisions.

It gets me from one place to another and mostly it does so well enough though I find I’m slowing down, and this bothers me.

I want my body to cooperate, but I do not want it  to have a mind of its own, to operate outside my conscious control.

And then I squash my finger in a door and see how little control I have over all things body.


My daughter gave me a belt for my birthday, which is yet to come. She’s gone away for the weekend, so this morning I sent her a photo of my body wearing this belt.

She found it ‘creepy’.

I see her point and yet this belt is wonderful. The creepy has more to do with the disembodied body, no head or arms, no legs, just a torso, thrust forward to reveal the belt.

A friend told me recently that I often write about bodies. This came as a surprise to me given ‘I don’t do bodies’.

Though maybe that’s why I explore them in words.

So much safer.



8 thoughts on “I don’t do bodies.”

  1. Time to make friends with your body. It’s put up with a lot over the years, including your door-slamming accident, and yet the marvel is how well and how hard it works to heal and to support life. Treat it as your oldest, dearest friend. Then again, if there’s unsealed trauma in relation to your body, tread very, very lightly, with wisdom and compassion.

    1. Our bodies survive, at least for a time. But we can gibe them a hard or gentle time in the mean time. One day I might write a letter to my body and all it’s parts. Thanks One letter up for this inspiration.

  2. I don’t do bodies either. If you look back on all the books of mine you have one common factor is undoubtedly a paucity of description especially when it comes to the main characters. I did make a bit of an effort in the first novel because I thought it was expected of me but even there I only sketch out the main characters. I’ve no idea what Jim Valentine looks like—it never mattered to me and even what description there is is unhelpful, all the things he’s not—and all we learn about Jen in the last book is she’s overweight (but not by how much) and is big busted which most larger ladies tend to be. It was necessary to mention her weight but as for her hair or eye colour? Does she wear glasses? Is she buck-toothed? Who cares? That’s what I enjoy about the short stories and especially the poetry because there’s no time for anything bar the essential. (Of course now I want to write a poem where the narrator begins with a description of what he or she looks like and where they are as they talk to us. Or perhaps a poem where the narrator describes who they think they’re talking to?)

    My own body annoys me. I’m not ashamed of it but I’m not body proud. Far from it. I don’t think I’m ugly but then I’m not handsome either. I like to think my face has character. That I can live with. The rest functions adequately as the mood takes it but doesn’t afford me a huge amount of pleasure. As I type this my hands hurt and I have a twinge in my neck, my eyes are itchy, my legs are giving my gyp and other areas I won’t detail smart. I ache therefore I am. No bruises at the moment or cuts or grazes. And no headache which is a rarity although the brain fog is a constant.

    People are, and have been for a long time, obsessed by appearance without really thinking about what the word means. How I appear is not necessarily how I am. It’s a form of lying. Of course nowadays we expect to be lied to from airbrushed magazine covers to world leaders. But that’s a subject for another day.

    1. Neither us are very good at this business of bodies and ageing, Jim, but we try to find ways around it, at least O do, though writing mostly. It’s wonderful how writing offers a different access to bodies that would otherwise be inaccessible. Thanks, Jim.

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