Talking with writers about their habits and rituals can be a fascinating thing. Talking about your own is less so, but there we are.

photoBehold, in all its glory – the writing glove!

I wish I could tell you the glove guides my fingers. That it channels ideas. That it slaps me across the face when I try to stop writing. Alas, its need is more prosaic – and a little less pleasant.

There is a scene in FAMISHED: THE FARM which you may remember:

Gordon lifted his right hand to his mouth. He shook with hunger and the sudden decision to cut away the option of surrender. He took the delicate skin from the side of the nail and brought his incisors down.

There was no real pain, just a curious pinching sensation. He did not sever skin from flesh, but worried at the little point he had created on his body. He took it in his teeth and tugged like a wolf at the body of a fresh deer, like a crow at the belly of a long-dead beast.

In seconds, he had torn a small strip of flesh from his finger. His mouth flooded with saliva at the feel, the sense, the promise of the flesh. He had done it for Martin, but his hunger was great. He swallowed it down.

“Martin,” he said, “Martin.”


“Stay awake, Martin. Stay with me just a little while longer.” He took the other side of the nail and repeated the process. His hand became a withered claw, fingers spider-splayed across the ridge of his cheek as he worried at the soft flesh beside his nail.

This time he did not swallow, but kept the tiny bit of skin on the tip of his tongue. He reached his hand around from cheek to lips, took it between thumb and forefinger. A tiny strand of saliva stretched out with the morsel, and he sucked quickly on his fingers to take that back in. His now-moist fingers came to Martin’s mouth, placing the bit of skin between his own thin lips.

“Stay awake, Martin. Swallow.”

Some of my readers asked where that came from. Well …

I worry at the fingers of my left hand when I’m deep in thought, or staring at a screen. Typically with my teeth. Sometimes picking at the skin with my other hand.

Obviously I can’t do this while I’m typing. When thinking, though, it’s an unconscious habit; and hardly an attractive one.

In trying to break myself of it, I’ll wear this finger-less glove when I catch myself in the act. While most would find a mouthful of sodden flesh unappealing, I assure you that the taste and texture of moist wool is far worse. Wearing it allows me to think, process, and research without doing more damage to the already cratered moonscape of my sinister appendage.

In other news, His Sinister Appendage is what you must title my biography.