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By Dylan DeBarr.WWH/CJE – I had just been told that my daughter was raped. I glance toward the door. I feel drunk, as if my legs can’t hold my weight. I grasp the window sill and push my forehead against the window. I need air. I gasp, choking on the silent scream that sticks in my throat. Thick, like molasses, I can’t swallow it or vomit it up.
She can’t shower in the daylight anymore. She can’t look at her own body. She feels her body has betrayed her. So, I sit on the floor in the bathroom as she showers in the dark. Sprays of water hit my face as I squint in the darkness watching her. She can’t close the shower curtain, so we leave it open. Her athletic body has shriveled. She has lost 30 pounds. No hips, no breasts, no more monthly period.
By Phil Polizatto,WWH – A true experience is something that monopolizes all of your senses while it is happening. It is something for which we use many words when trying to describe it to others. For example, a writer may want to share an experience with a reader.
“The roller coaster ride was exhilarating.” Does “exhilarating” truly give you the experience itself? No. Well, then, maybe more words would help.
“The roller coaster ride was exhilarating. The almost vertical descents made my stomach turn inside out, and the lunch I had just eaten attempted an embarrassing somersault out of my mouth. My brain detached from my skull and bounced around willy-nilly like an enslaved pinball in the hands of some flipper maniac. My heart leapt into my throat as often as a frog jumping from one sinking lily pad to another.”
Is that better? Sure. Does it give you the true experience of a roller coaster ride? I don’t think so.
We can use even more words, more descriptors, metaphors, and analogies, constantly circling the experience, trying desperately to hone in on just the right words that will convey the truth of the experience. As close as we may come, it is impossible. There is no one word; there are no amounts of words, which can truly duplicate someone else’s experience for you. You just have to take that roller coaster ride yourself. Then you’ll understand.
The only word in the English language that is what it is, is the word, “word.” Think about it! All other words pale in comparison in their attempt to be exactly what they present themselves to be. Even something as mundane as the word, “chair” is open to interpretation, and the reader will envision a chair based on his or her own experiences of a chair. The word “hurt” will bring a plethora of experiences to mind. And each person who reads or hears the word “joy,” will have a slightly different idea of it wandering around in their heads.
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