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Writer’s Bump

April 13, 2011

Writer’s Bump

In elementary school
I had a writer’s bump.
Proof on the top upper side
of my right middle finger –
that I did my work. 

I think it grew from squeezing my pencil
too hard and too long. 

Do kids today get a writer’s bump?
Or even know what it, or a pencil, is?
Have they both been replaced
with carpel tunnel syndrome? 

Has the bump gone the way
of six foot snow drifts that we used to trudge in,
to and from school, both ways uphill?
and recess
and milk bottles outside the front door in early morning
and marbles dropped in a shoe box hole
and simple times
and simple talks
uncomplicated friendships
simple games
and a prayer to start the day? 

Do they take a shower after gym,
or do they do they even have it (gym or a shower)?
Parallel bars in dusty storage closets,
horses that today are used to sit on and smoke
when you can sneak in the school basement. 

Dresses with sleeves and backs
and underwear that stays under
pants with belts
lockers without locks
hallways without cell phones
and manners….
and good morning
and there is a reason to go home. 

I remember the days when my writer’s bump would swell
from drawing countless penmanship circles –
thump a little from blood rushing through my veins. 

Now I look down, realize it is gone,
I had almost forgotten it. 

Could I have remembered it better than it was?
Failed to remember that it really, really hurt?
Forgotten why our parents thought we were a lost generation.
Understand really –
that you cannot walk to, and from school,
both ways – uphill?
And it doesn’t snow enough anymore anyway. 

In my heart, I fear that kids today
will miss the writer’s bump more than I do.

Ray Brown

Consider purchasing my book of poems, “I Have His Letters Still” – Poetry of Everyday Life ($11.95).  Available on Amazon at or purchase an autographed copy at

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2009 12:33 pm

    I remember that – my finger was so red too. And now we just get carpel tunnel syndrome
    from our hours spent at the computer.
    I liked this piece of writing, you brought some nostaglia to my heart this morning. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ray Brown permalink*
      August 3, 2009 12:55 pm

      What a beautiful comment. I am so appreciative. Thank you. Ray B-

  2. Edie Angelo permalink
    August 6, 2009 3:50 am

    So funny…I had that writer’s bump and the snow WAS deeper back then….Geez I need a job!!!

    • Ray Brown permalink*
      August 6, 2009 1:33 pm

      The wonderful mystique of nostalgia. Thanks Edie.

  3. Sharla Shults permalink
    September 7, 2009 8:27 pm

    Wow! Did you ever bring back memories! I had totally forgotten about the “bump.” As I examined for my once very prevalent “writer’s bump,” I am sad to report it is nearly gone. Unfortunately, the pencil has been replaced by the computer and “writing” is now typing. Maybe I should check the tips of my fingers for signs of new writer’s bumps.

    By the way, I also write poetry and happened upon your Website while doing some research. Most inspiring to me is the ease by which I can visualize what you are saying!

    • Ray Brown permalink*
      September 8, 2009 11:20 am

      Thank you for reading and for your comment. It makes me feel more comfortable with my writing. I would like to read your poetry off-line or otherwise. I will search for it now – but send me a note when you have time. Thank you.

  4. Isabel Kestner permalink
    October 9, 2010 2:55 pm

    So it wasn’t just me. And yes that bump used to hurt. Sometimes, you’d even get that pen dent in it…that meant you’d been writing a really long time.

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