Sunday, April 5, 2015

A World of Hurt – Dark-Day Word-Experiences

Writers are always searching for new ways to describe familiar situations. If you’re like me you don’t take the opportunity to jot down new words and expressions when they invade your days.

If you have followed my blogs or Facebook pages, you know I have developed a very painful back—spinal arthritis that, right now, has me nearly immobile. Rather than going through all of this suffering and not permit my writing to benefit from this agonizing time, I have decided to start a list of words and sentences to express my experience. Later, as I am writing another novel, I can pull out this blog post and remember to check my list. I will not give all of my descriptions away, since I will want to use them later as fresh and new material. The post here is to encourage you to use the dark times of life to make more realistic writing later when you are creating something new.

First, I’ll admit, the title of this blog is trite. “A world of hurt” has been around for a while, but hopefully it caught your attention. Trust me, right now, with the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae deteriorated and crumbling more, my whole world does hurt: every cough, sneeze, step or slight movement creates teeth grinding nerve pain. So, please forgive the title and think about the process.

Start a notebook of “descriptors,” either in single words, phrases or sentences. Later, when writing something else, you can use the notes, in part or in whole, to describe a similar but different experience. To show you the type of list of which I speak, I will identify each of the five basic senses and then a word or phrases relative to my current back pain so you can see how to create your own “dark-day word-experience.”

Sight: I knew my face had given away the pain I tried to hide, with uncontrolled grotesque tics every time spiky bones stabbed my nerves, when people looked at me with pained empathy.
Sound: I wanted to keep my pain to myself, but somewhere deep inside me, sharp agonizing screams would escape like trapped broken prisoners, with no more than shift of my foot.
Touch: I reached down and scratched my foot; the sensation was “there but not there,” skin or leather, it would have all felt the same.
Taste: A sip of water should have dissolved the tiny pill, but it stuck in my throat and slowly slathered its bitter butter across the back of my tongue.
Smell: Although the pain in my back barely relinquished for a moment allowing me to stand, the aroma of shampoo that filled the shower as it frothed over my head and shoulders, set my senses free for a moment of pleasure.

My practice has always been to try to remember an experience long after it happen, searching for words to give voice to a fictional character. This time, I am creating a list as I experience it and I invite you to consider doing the same.

Have a happy spring!


Copyright 2015 Doris Gaines Rapp

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