It’s our 2-year anniversary!
by Rita Goldner
Today I give a left-handed salute to my fellow southpaws. Throughout history, there has been a cultural bias against left handed people. For example, the original Latin word sinister meant “left,” while the Latin word for right was dexter, from which comes dexterity.
The discrimination through the ages sometimes included the belief that left-handed people were unlucky to be around, especially at the beginning of a journey. They were also considered awkward, dishonest, and sometimes even malicious or stupid. In addition, they faced logistical hurdles in trying to learn a musical instrument, operate machinery, and use kitchen implements. Because of these drawbacks, some cultures have forced naturally inclined left-handed children to learn to use their right hands.
I lived in Japan for two years in my twenties, and when I ate in restaurants with a Japanese friend, she would remind me that it was considered rude for me to hold chopsticks in my left hand. They gave me some latitude because I was American, but my friend told me that she knew no lefties in Japan. I had said at the time that it seemed impossible, since 10 percent of the world population is naturally left-handed. I’ve since discovered through recent research that she was right, since the Japanese were usually forced to switch in early childhood.
When I was in the third grade, my teacher (a nun) hit kids with a ruler if they wrote with their left hands. When I told my very feisty Irish mom about my teacher’s behavior, she took time from caring for her brood of six kids to march down to the school and threaten to bust the building apart “brick by brick” if anyone laid a hand on me. I remember her exact words over 60 years later.
I was lucky to have my mom in my corner, but even so, navigating through a world made for right-handed people can have its challenges. The good news is that this challenge forces most lefties to exercise and develop both halves of their brains. Scientific studies have shown that this bilateral development helps:
- Have improved performance in sports for two reasons: (1) left-handers confuse their opponents, and (2) lefties have more developed non-dominant arms.
- Become better at multi-tasking.
- Improve one’s chances of being a genius. (Double the rate of the general population, 20 percent of Mensa members – a club for those with high IQs – are southpaws.)
- See better underwater. (Scientists don’t know why this bizarre advantage exists, but statistics bear it out.)
- Have a better memory.
- Recover more quickly from a stroke.
Today I am also offering a left-handed tip o’ the hat to our blog group, as this is our second year anniversary. We’ve all grown leaps and bounds in our blogging skills and our publishing/marketing arsenal. The Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion group has helped me to muster the guts to try self-publishing for my next book. My first one was traditionally published, but now I am pulling out all the stops and, not surprisingly, multi-tasking.
Not too coincidentally, this new book is titled: Jackson’s History Adventure, A Story Book for Left or Right-handed Coloring. The coil binding is across the top, so the colorer’s left hand won’t sit annoyingly in the gutter. The protagonist in the story loves to draw and paint, like I do, so I’m having a ball with this one. Sign up for my newsletter if you’d like updates and sample pages. Comments welcome!
Goldner is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series. For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. See her new work at Anthill Books. To view additional illustrations and other books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook.