"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not." --Mark Twain
Over the last few days I've had the chance to experience some new things. A CT scan and an MRI. Oh, I know plenty of people who've had them and seen many an episode on TV of the experience but it is vastly different from actually having it done to you.
The CT was amusing. My hair stood on its ends as the donut shaped thing-a-ma-bob whirled all around my head and whooshed with semi-loud frequency. It was a short-lived experience where I told myself, "That wasn't too bad."
The MRI was like being transported into the body of Hannibal Lecter. My body was pressed against a flat board and a heavy mask was locked around my head with gaps big enough for my eyes and oddly, my mouth. Then you're shoved inside a tube which wouldn't have been so claustrophobic if they didn't pack stuffed pads around your head and body to make sure you had an extra tight squeeze. Shortly thereafter, you're subjected to odd clanging, twisting, and clunky sounds. Half the time I was wondering if they were performing maintenance on the machine while I was inside it. And that was just the beginning.
As I lay there trying to discern the different sounds of the MRI machine, I found myself thinking about writing. How would a writer describe the experience I was going through? The staff at the hospital described the noises as jackhammers but I disagree. It certainly has the rhythm a jackhammer would make, the steady ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta beat of noise, but it didn't seem as intense to me. And there were more noises than that to appreciate. I'll tell you a few before I bore you to death. There were varied whirring noises, beeps, and elongated eee-aaa-ooooo sounds followed by something that sounded a bit like the noise you'll find in sci-fi movies during space travel; like you're at the end of a tunnel hearing it come towards you.
Altogether, it reminded me of a donkey braying outside of a shack while rain beat on the tin roof and a tornado was whirling around all of it. I'm pretty sure that was grammatical murder just there.
I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Boy, you really needed that cat scan!" And you might be right. (However, I reserve the right as a writer to fully embrace my craziness.) But the experience made me think about my craft. Life's experiences are great fodder for storytelling. I've read stories about people experiencing MRI's and CT's but I've never heard how it felt and what it sounded like. Perhaps no one wants to hear about what it sounds like to be human sausage link being nuked in the microwave but it's something to remember.
The point of this post is that everything you do, every chance you get, try to log it into your brain. You never know when that experience will be the perfect description in a book, short-story, novelette, or screen play. Perhaps even a journal entry. When you're going through something new (or revisiting something old) try to visualize it and describe it to yourself. You might be surprised at your impressive lexicon.
Until next time,
p.s. For those wondering, the CT and MRI came out clean. Sorry, no impressive illnesses today!