Cold water creative writing
THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
Dept. of English
695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065
T: 212 772 5164 F: 212 772 5411
The Unknown Knowns
A excerpt from a novel by Jeffrey Rotter, Hunter MFA Fiction 2006
(Simon and Schuster/Scribner, March 2009)
The obvious way to describe water is with adjectives. People like to say water is murky or dappled or turbulent or calm. They call it brackish, crystalline, emerald, white. Deep, shallow, filmy, or unfathomable. But all those adjectives don’t even come close to describing water like it really is. They just float across the surface, like dead leaves or algae.
You could also try describing water with action verbs. You could say it rushes, or pours, or drips. You could also say it seeps, for instance. Water can boil or it can freeze or it can steam. But it doesn’t matter how many verbs you throw at the water; they don’t stick either. Trying to describe water by what it does is kind of like telling a story by throwing a book at your wife.
Another way people sometimes describe water is in context. I’ll give you an example: a man walks by making water noises. His tube socks are drenched and they’re going squish, squish, squish. With every step he takes: squish, squish. But when you ask the guy if he wants a dry pair — you have the socks right there in your hand; you even offer them to him — he shakes his head no. And that’s when you hear it: you hear the fluid slosh inside his skull like milk in a coconut. And you think: this isn’t a man; this is something else entirely.
Here’s another example of describing water in context. A little kid jumps out of a swimming pool. His skin is red and raw. He’s crying without making a sound. Something bad has been done to the water.
Or here’s an even better example of water in context: Two women go over a waterfall in a big bucket. The water is so crazy all around them that no one can hear them screaming, not even the women themselves. An ambulance backs up to the edge of the water. The lights are insistent, swirling. They paint the mountain red, and to look at them makes you feel like you don’t have enough pockets to put your hands in.
There are probably other examples that I’m sure you could come up with. But here’s the one I keep coming back to, the one that’s relevant to my present circumstance. A guy jumps into a swimming pool, pointing his toes to mitigate the splash. Water knifes up inside his swim trunks, it pinches his nipples. He blows bubbles through his nose to prevent the water from entering his skull. The water floods his thinning hair and his body hangs limp in the pool light. The body hangs limp while the guy thinks about water.
That guy is me. I am the guy in the water thinking about water.
More context. My name is Jim Rath. I was born in Columbia, South Carolina, where I grew to my current, completely uninspiring height of five foot six. Five years ago, for reasons that were obscure at the time, even to me, I moved to Colorado Springs. I am currently age 38, though that number seems to be changing rapidly and time hasn’t been especially friendly to me. I’m hairy-armed and cowering, a guy you’d expect to see squatting by a campfire just a few weeks before the beginning of history. People say I have a high forehead, but I know what that means. I’m losing my hair. No great loss; I was never all that handsome or brave anyway. And my balding caveman looks never mattered much when I was standing underwater.
It was after hours in the hotel pool at a Colorado Springs Hilton. The month was August but the water felt more like March or April. I descended, eyes closed behind my scuba mask, until I felt the grout and the grit of the tile floor against the balls of my feet. The pockets of my Jams were lined with lead fishing weights to keep me from floating away. I drew down the intake of the snorkel so it would barely breach the water. My presence would be difficult if not impossible to detect from above. Then I opened my eyes and described what I saw through the lens of my diving mask, writing everything down in a waterproof notepad.
My goal was a thorough understanding of water. But not on a chemical level. Not in any way that you could test. That wasn’t of any interest to me. I had more consequential interests. I wanted to know why the water is always calling to us, why it resents us. Where do we belong in relation to it? I asked. What is the water hiding down there? I was in the pool to ask the hard probing questions that no one else would ask. Because I figured out some time ago that the truest and most singular way to know the water is by getting right in it. By reaching in with bare hands and pulling out a couple of its slippery monsters. Holding them up to the light to watch them gasp and squirm. They have so many teeth, so many and so elegantly tined that you can’t even feel them when they bite.
COPYRIGHT ©2008 MFA Creative Writing, Hunter College. All Rights Reserved.
This tool helps you find adjectives for things that you’re trying to describe. Also check out ReverseDictionary.org and RelatedWords.org. Here are some adjectives for ~term~ : . You can get the definitions of these ~term~ adjectives by clicking on them. You might also like some words related to ~term~ (and find more here).
Sort By Usage Frequency
Click words for definitions.
Loading you some adjectives. Won’t be much longer! 🙂
Words to Describe Another Word
Below is a list of describing words for another word . You can sort the descriptive words by uniqueness or commonness using the button above. Sorry if there’s a few unusual suggestions! The algorithm isn’t perfect, but it does a pretty good job for most common nouns. Here’s the list of words that can be used to describe another word :
Words to Describe ~term~
As you’ve probably noticed, adjectives for ” term ” are listed above. Hopefully the above generated list of words to describe term suits your needs.
If you’re getting strange results, it may be that your query isn’t quite in the right format. The search box should be a simple word or phrase, like “tiger” or “blue eyes”. A search for words to describe “people who have blue eyes” will likely return zero results. So if you’re not getting ideal results, check that your search term, ” term ” isn’t confusing the engine in this manner.
Note also that if there aren’t many term adjectives, or if there are none at all, it could be that your search term has an abiguous part-of-speech. For example, the word “blue” can be an noun and an adjective. This confuses the engine and so you might not get many adjectives describing it. I may look into fixing this in the future. You might also be wondering: What type of word is ~term~ ?
The idea for the Describing Words engine came when I was building the engine for Related Words (it’s like a thesaurus, but gives you a much broader set of related words, rather than just synonyms). While playing around with word vectors and the “HasProperty” API of conceptnet, I had a bit of fun trying to get the adjectives which commonly describe a word. Eventually I realised that there’s a much better way of doing this: parse books!
Project Gutenberg was the initial corpus, but the parser got greedier and greedier and I ended up feeding it somewhere around 100 gigabytes of text files – mostly fiction, including many contemporary works. The parser simply looks through each book and pulls out the various descriptions of nouns.
Hopefully it’s more than just a novelty and some people will actually find it useful for their writing and brainstorming, but one neat little thing to try is to compare two nouns which are similar, but different in some significant way – for example, gender is interesting: “woman” versus “man” and “boy” versus “girl”. On an inital quick analysis it seems that authors of fiction are at least 4x more likely to describe women (as opposed to men) with beauty-related terms (regarding their weight, features and general attractiveness). In fact, “beautiful” is possibly the most widely used adjective for women in all of the world’s literature, which is quite in line with the general unidimensional representation of women in many other media forms. If anyone wants to do further research into this, let me know and I can give you a lot more data (for example, there are about 25000 different entries for “woman” – too many to show here).
The blueness of the results represents their relative frequency. You can hover over an item for a second and the frequency score should pop up. The “uniqueness” sorting is default, and thanks to my Complicated Algorithm™, it orders them by the adjectives’ uniqueness to that particular noun relative to other nouns (it’s actually pretty simple). As you’d expect, you can click the “Sort By Usage Frequency” button to adjectives by their usage frequency for that noun.
Special thanks to the contributors of the open-source mongodb which was used in this project.
cold water – quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Cold water seeps into my shoes, stealing the heat from my soles just as fast as the wind steals from my face. My face is soaked, the drops coming together to run into my eyes and drip from my chin. My heat has run to my core to shelter and hoard the warmth that remains. For this long road, in this wintry storm, the frigid downpour and the icy puddles are my nemesis.
Cold water is the most efficient thief of heat I know. It takes what it does not need. The river at my feet will be just as icy when I have crosses as before, yet my blood will be almost frozen in my veins. Before even a boot is submerged, my skin is rough with goosebumps, pointless as they are. The water surges around my skin, rising up my leg on one side, making tiny eddies on the other. The weight of the water is almost enough to topple me, the current enough to take me far down stream. What worries me more is that at this low temperature my muscles will simply give up. Crossing in such cold water is a compromise: fast enough not become hypothermic and steady enough not to fall.
Drinking cold water in this heat feels like the greatest luxury on earth. The ice falls against the glass, my fingers sliding on the condensation before my fingers regain their grip. I feel the chill run down my esophagus and my head makes an involuntary shake. A numbness creeps into my brain the way it did when I was a kid drinking too much slurpee too fast. It’s the reverse of the winter time, when all I want is the feel the heat of good coffee come through a thick clay mug. When the glass is drained I take the ice between my molars and bite hard, feeling it melt into cold pools on my palate.
The thin ice on top of the puddles cracks under boot and the loamy scent of the air is gone. Old man winter has robbed the woods of its usual charm and replaced it with a barren beauty. The path halts at a river, each side lined with denuded trees. Their branches are whitened by last nights snowfall and reach starkly against the blue-white skyline. Frigid water tumbles over the rocky bed, briefly turning white. I train my eyes right and left for a bridge, there is none.