Aeioux via Flickr (CC)*

I started thinking about using my hand as a notepad, as I did when I was a kid, and began noticing people with notes scrawled and scribbled on their hands. The manager of the local fish market had phone numbers running up the back of his hand in blue ball point. At the Bauhaus show at the Museum of Modern Art, a teacher ushered in a group of four young women and started talking about a weaving by Anni Albers; one whipped out a razor point pen and started taking notes on her hand. It’s a convenience that I overlooked for years until I needed to remember to take my laptop’s powercord to a meeting, and couldn’t find a post-it, so I wrote a note on my hand…

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

You can write anything you want a quick, impermanent reminder of:
flight information…
phone numbers…
things you see on the street…
notes from a museum…

The hand at the top are “tatoo’d” with track lyrics from an album called Handwriting by Khonnor: a photo for the cover artwork that never got used.

*With thanks to Aeioux for usage via Creative Commons.

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7 replies on “hand as notepad

  1. Recently at a crowded street fair I wrote my cell phone number on my kids’ hands in case god-forbid they got lost and couldn’t remember my phone number. Luckily, we didn’t need to use it!

  2. Stacey, that is a brilliant, simple idea that every parent should know. My hat’s off to you!

  3. After reading this last week, I drew on my hand this weekend–not a reminder, but a small piece of art that made me smile with remembrance of doing the same when I was a kid. It was a great way to doodle while I was in class then, and it turns out it still is . . . in grad school this time.

  4. I LOVE this. Once waiting in an airport I wrote a line from an Anne Sexton poem I’d been reading on the palm of my hand, and I’ve also traced my feet in my journal and then created a map of the places they’d been on them. Thanks for a great blog.

  5. The juxtaposition of the ‘power cord’ written on the hand
    made me laugh. It is the perfect metaphor for the greatest of ironies.

  6. I just wrote a quick note on my hand, and it made me wonder whether anyone else might find it a useful strategy too. Then I came across your blog post, to which I agree it is such an excellent idea this!

    The best thing about our hands is unlike pieces of paper, they’re always with us and never get lost. So to have reminders written on where we see them constantly is an ideal way to remember things. That I find particularly relaxing and reassuring.

    For some reason I’ve found certain shades of permanent marker seem to stay on the skin for longer too. Orange is one example that seems to work well. So as a tip, I recommend getting a pack of non-toxic fine tip markers (I use the brand which sounds like a sharp pointed pie) and experiment drawing parallel lines or equally sized shapes on your hand. Even one’s arm can go well for this experiment too, or wherever you fancy. It’s totally up to you.

    Next this next step might sound silly. But after 30 mins or so, try and wash it all off entirely. Then see which remaining coloured inks are most visible. These will be best colours to use for making notes, since they’re the sturdiest of the pack. This is due to certain pigments which somehow form a stronger bond with our skin. The advantage is not only will the ink stay where we want it for longer, but doesn’t risk staining one’s clothes, or pillow and bed sheets during the night!

    Also it’s not like a tattoo which stays on forever. That would be counterproductive as we’d get used to the reminder. Since our skin’s top layer continually renews itself, that’s how the ink comes off in a day or three (even with “permanent” marker pens). Additionally it seems our palms (at least mine) hold the ink for longer than the backs, and that’s useful if wanting to make more discrete notes.

    And as for anyone who thinks it’s a bit childish making notes on our hands, that’s fine. But just make sure to not forget or misplace that sticky note next time… 😉

  7. ^ Oops!

    Paragraph spacing didn’t seem to work, sorry for the wall of text.

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