On the middle finger of my right hand, there’s a nice big callous at the first knuckle. This is where I hold my pen, where the plastic casing presses into my skin and bone as I frantically scribble out an idea before it vanishes like smoke.
This callous has sat there, simultaneously bumped and dented, for a long time, at least since middle school when I really began to write. I’ve always been oddly proud of it: aside from the piled notebooks, it’s an outward sign of what I do.
I thought I was the only one aware of this self-inflicted mark. Then one day, back in middle school, on the bus, a girl I didn’t talk to much (she was likely in the popular, extroverted group) pointed it out to me. “That means that you write a lot. That’s cool.”
This may have been the first time someone outside of my normal, insular life identified me as a writer. It was strange, shocking; I’d thought it was all in my head. But it wasn’t just a part of my inside world. To the world outside of me, I was a writer, someone with stories, who couldn’t stop putting them down. And she was right — that was pretty cool.