Ana K. Wrenn portrait



Artwork credit: fauxfaerie

July 28, 2022

Hey there, Darlins. Thanks for dropping into the Wrenn’s Nest. I’m excited to share something with you.

A new word!

Are you a logophile like me? You know, someone who loves words.

Well, as a logophilic sapiosexual, I love hooking up with new words and enriching my lexiconic relationships. And a recent conversation with my Lifey helped me find such a word.

You may already know that my Lifey’s name is Cary. A.k.a. the artist fauxfaerie (see the fab artwork above and featured on my website and socials). See, she and I were discussing some pretty major life changes. She’s starting a graduate program in counseling, and I’m getting ready for the release of my debut novel (SQUEE!). Plus, I’m heading into retirement from my professional life as a college professor and researcher.

Well, Cary and I are all twisted up with excitement and fear because of these major changes.

“Is there a word that combines excitement and fear?” one of us asked during our chat. I don’t remember which one raised that question because our talking overlaps, our ideas threading together, almost like how a quilting circle makes a quilt—instead of ownership, there’s mainly unity, connection, and co-creation.

Mid-conversation, I typed our question into my search bar, and up pops Frisson, essentially, a word that captures the act of shivering from fear and excitement.

New word alert! Frisson. Pronounced frē-sōɴ′. Or, as I would say it here in Appalachia, free-sin 😊

“I don’t like that word,” Cary exclaimed after I share with her the results of my search. “It doesn’t feel right in my mouth.”

“Frisson doesn’t taste right when I swirl it around,” I said. But, again, I might make room in my heart for the more Appalachian pronunciation, free-sin.😉

[Quick aside! Synesthesia is a condition where one sense (e.g., hearing) gets intertwined with another (e.g., taste), and I suspect that both Cary and I have a touch of synesthesia. For me to fancy a word, for example, it has to taste right on my tongue and in my ears].

Back to frisson and how it creates a kind of psychological friction. Frisson-friction, if you will.

Cary’s entering the mental health profession, and oh do we need competent, caring practitioners, but that will put heavy demands on her, intellectually, psychologically, and emotionally. And I am fulfilling a nearly life-long dream of publishing a novel (Strange Attractors will be released August 17, 2022 from Ylva Publishing)...Swoon!

When I think of frisson, I think of...

😬Trembling with thrills and terror😬Shuddering with fancy and fright😬Quaking with attraction and apprehension😬

We’ve all been there. We leave relationships (Scary!) to start new ones (Intoxicating!). We come out in our communities, or to our families (Terrifying and Liberating!). We change careers and pursue dreams we thought we could only...well...dream of, making our bodies break out in goosebumps from delight and dread.

Okay, Lovelies, let’s go on another detour, but it’s relevant. Promise.

Quinn Ivins understands frisson, I’d bet.

In her award-winning book Worthy of Love (published by Ylva), Quinn gives readers a beautiful and heartwarming tale about the lusciousness of love — or the promise of it — and the lunacy it takes to face down one’s vulnerabilities, allowing the new love to root and flourish.

Hopefully, you’ve read WoL. If spoilers here. All I’ll say is that the story of Nadine and Bella weaves the excitement and fear of daring to take hold of one’s life, one’s future.

Hence....Quinn understands frisson, and her characters do too.

When we’re in a state of frisson, we’re kept guessing, imbalanced.That's because there are no guarantees of HEAsIRL (happily ever afters in real life), not when we’re facing HUGE life-changing events.

Will that new experience tilt toward the thrill or the terror?But until we face what we must face, until we dare to take that risk, we don’t know the outcome.

Hence (again)...Frisson!

Hopefully, though, what we do know is that we can handle the tilt and its aftermath. At least that’s how Cary and I see it.

I’d love to hear about your frisson seesaws (you know...the tilting back and forth). What’s makes you tremble with thrill and terror? What moments have you faced when you’ve shuddered with fancy and fright? What decisions bring about the quake of attraction and apprehension? Feel free to tweet at me! Keep those tweets kind, tho. *kisses n' hugs*

Until next time, Darlins.