– improvisational reaction to a word received in my In Box from Dictionary.com

frisson, free-SOHN, noun

  1. A sudden, passing sensation of excitement; a shudder of emotion; thrill.

Right off I confused this with fission, a word with powerful and menacing implications. A heavy word. Heavy in that the splitting of a “heavy nucleus such as an isotope of uranium” can create a living hell. Not a passing sensation nor shudder of emotion for sure. But a full on ass-searing blast of radiation yielding horrific results the earth’s unfortunately (fortunately?) only “experienced” twice so far. And I don’t mean experienced like you experienced an afternoon of white water rafting in Idaho. But like your most painful moment ever times, I don’t know, a gazillion. But frisson, IMO the word’s too close to fission to have such a thin meaning. Shouldn’t it be rougher, , jerkier? A jolting sensation, as in buckle your seatbelt it’s going to be a frisson of a ride? But it’s not that at all. It’s the scent of wildflowers on a summer day. A passing pleasure, like popping an M&M into your mouth. Or, taking a toke of the whacky weed, as we used to call it for a certain good reason. More than a frisson of a time those days were. Though not quite a fission of a time. Not a complete meltdown. Some brain cells remain. And deciding to put it in the present participle, my spell check tells me frissoning isn’t a word, and my bff Google insists it’s not a valid Scrabble word either. So be it, even though I had in mind frissoning as a human activity, as in a frissoning couple might be having a pleasurable moment, maybe even a private one, if anything’s private these days, a moment that fissioning would disrupt in a rather large and rather incontrovertible way.

– published in Volume 3 of The Transnational (defunct) October 19, 2015 TN3


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