Issue #157 / July 2021
As a quite handsome man, ‘from a certain angle and in a certain light’, how did you pull Mrs Cave?
STEVEN, TAMWORTH, UK
I am thirteen. [ ] What is your favourite dinosaur?
NICKLAS, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
Can you recommend a female poet I should read?
TAMMY, ROME, ITALY
Do you think The Red Hand Files have been a success?
JONATHAN, CHOBHAM, UK
Dear Steven, Nicklas, Tammy and Jonathan,With the passing of the years, that certain angle and certain light now elude me, and so your question, Steven, gave me a momentary spasm of manly vigour — I say ‘momentary’ as I soon realised that the idea I actually ‘pulled’ my wife couldn’t be further from the truth. In actual fact, she passed by me one evening, over twenty years ago, as I stood beneath my favourite dinosaur, Dippy the Diplodocus, in the main hall of London’s Natural History Museum and I was swept helplessly into the slipstream of her beauty, exterior and interior. I have been happily flailing about there ever since — not waving but drowning, as the great Stevie Smith would say; a poet, Tammy, I thoroughly recommend.
Today, I asked my wife if she thought The Red Hand Files were a success. ‘Of course,’ she said, ‘they make you better.’ Jonathan, she is right. For me, The Red Hand Files are a spiritual practice, like church, like praying. They require that I spend a certain amount of time each week at the better, more compassionate end of my character. Over the three years that I have been answering your questions, the journey there has become easier and less resistant. I am getting better.
Mostly though, I am awed by The Red Hand Files. Awe is the feeling we have when we encounter the monumental or immeasurable. We experience a sudden shrinking of the self, yet a rapid expansion of the soul. This is how I feel when I read the questions that come in each week. I am truly humbled by their vastness and raw honesty, and my soul grows large in amazement. You guys are the best.