Visual Vocabulary: Frisson

Frisson: a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill. As in, "Phyllis knew she really shouldn't be reading 'The Shining' alone, on the dark porch of the remote vacation house, at two o'clock in the morning, but she secretly enjoyed the frisson it gave her."

Visual Vocabulary: frisson, Julie Rado Design

This illustration is based on a true story of my mother reading The Shining at our vacation house sometime in the 1970s. As legend goes, she freaked herself out to the point of staying up all night to finish the book. To be fair, reading up at the lake, in the middle of the night, can be a little freaky-deaky. You're on the porch hearing twigs snapping—is it a raccoon OR A MASS MURDERER? You can't see them, but they can see you! I once slept out on the porch after going to see the Blair Witch Project in the theaters. At the time, I somehow didn't know it wasn't a fake documentary. My reaction was pretty much the same—not much sleep was had that night. The Blair Witch was coming to get me, of course.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.