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Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Scribble and Scrambles - Here's Lookin at You, Kid

I’m a big fan of non-verbal expression.

Since I have a house full of creatures, let me start there. Guilty dogs…you’ve seen it, you’ve probably caused it by catching them in the act of “Bad Dog!” behavior. Suddenly, a guilty dog becomes absorbed in staring at a spot far away from the eyes of the lecturing human. The tail tucks, the ears curl inward.

My friend shared the story of her dog who thought she got away with raiding the garbage can and eating a container of Cool Whip. Little did the perky pup know that her black muzzle betrayed her crime, and once her error was pointed out all the fun flew out of the moment.

Here’s another animal moment: peppy little Feral Will loves the crabby calico. We enjoy the displays of affection offered and rebuffed. Picture Pepe Le Pew and his casual yet obsessive pursuit of a lovely female, and then picture the lovely female running frantically from him, and you’ve got a good idea of which I speak. Then add the sudden stop, turn and bristle of a cat “that’s had enough thank-you-very-much!” Ears back, mouth open in a Joker-style grimace, tail four times its natural size and a sideways tip-toe skitter.

But my favorite non-verbals are people expressions. These are the ones I collect and hang onto in my memory banks.

Squeezed-tight eyes, hand over chest, other hand fanning face, laughter.

Open mouth, dropped jaw, a twitch of a smile …and mental gears creaking as a response is formulated.

Dawning understanding -- when mental and emotional light bulbs flick on, lighting eyes and dark corners of a room.

Long blinks, lolling head, deep-breathing, stretches, with the occasional jerk to stay awake.

And my all time favorite. The one Rob gave me as we parted this morning. I’d said something witty and turned to look back at him. He grinned, and the twinkle in his eye told me that -- yep, not only does he get me -- He likes me.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.


Anonymous said...

AHHHHHHHH that's so sweet!

Timothy Fish said...

It is a little ironic since a writer's tool is the written word, but I believe that it is the nonverbal communication that best expresses emotion in writing. Here is one of my own examples:

Then an even worse fear overwhelmed her, because the next word out of his mouth was "no!" and as he said it he reached for something to steady himself and only succeeded in slowing his descent as his legs gave way. His whole body shook as he tried to compose himself. The phone fell to the floor...

Yes, I intended to have the two ands in one sentence. The hope was that it would give the reader a feeling of breathlessness.

Or how about this one:

He was too cold to answer. He just let her help him get out of his wet clothes and into something that would warm him.

"You...you should...see the...other guy," he was finally able to say through his chattering teeth.

There were more words in this, but I figured that the evident pauses in his speech along with the chattering teeth would be more effective than simply having him say, "I got thrown in the pool, but I'm not going to get that get me down."

Janet Rubin said...

No one-- absolutely no one-- can say it like you say it, Kelly. You are a word-sculptor!
One of the seminars I went to talked alot about "body language" and the importance of being able to put it in words in a way that the reader will get that image and say, "Yes! I know exactly what that looks like."
Anyway, you do it well. YOu just proved it!

Jordanius said...

I sometimes get the suppressed yawn paired with spacey eyes and head nods prompted by eye contact body language from acquaintances when I describe what is happening in my life. It is a good way to get feedback on my life, without asking for it.