This post is the first of four instalments for the story 'If Something Was Missing, This Would Be It'.
I suppose the main problem is that everybody views the world from behind their faces, behind their eyes. Everyone thinks that what they see is what everybody else see’s, but of course that is not true.
Try it now, go on, close your eyes and think of the letter ‘a’ – have you thought, have you seen it there in your mind? So was it red, green, yellow, black on a white background, white on a black background? You ask others, they will see it differently to you, so how do you know if something is missing if you do not know what is there in the first place.
The first time I knew that my world was different was when I was about 8 and I choked on a word, I mean, literally choked on a word. It was big and lumpy and I had not had it in my mouth before. The word was ‘clompy’. I gagged on its fullness, it’s chewiness, it’s rubber texture. My mother hit my back with her hand, thinking it was food I had swallowed, but it was that word, caught in the back of my throat. I tried to tell her.
“Nousha, Nousha,” she cried. As soon as she said my name, the shape disappeared and I was left with tiny sandy pebbles rolling over and over on my tongue. I loved the way my name felt in my mouth. I smiled, my mother looked relieved, the furrows of concern disappearing from around the blue grey of her eyes. She bent and kissed me. I told her that the word had tried to choke me, she rubbed by head, “ You are a funny mick,” she smiled and I knew from her look that she did not have words that choked her.
From that moment on I tried to steer clear of certain words, I would put my fingers into my ears often and when I read I tried to think and not say the words, not hear them because hearing them meant that they were there on my tongue, against my teeth, arching against the roof of my mouth, lying along the centre of my tongue. As the years passed my tongue developed the dexterity to accommodate new textures, new words, new shapes and I started to talk more, however I knew, I knew that other people did experience the world in the way I did.
Not every person realized that they were missing what somebody else had. So I started my quest, my quest to find out how experience is experienced. Luckily I had done well academically and had a natural flair for languages, (Spanish is like sherbert, French flaccid and wet, Arabic is a thin membrane of heat on the back of my throat, like the back breath of a good single malt.) and so I started my travels, I had a research fellowship from Birmingham University, the world was my oyster.......
Writers' Relay 2 | Post 1
Writer: Katrice Horsley
Profile: Katrice Horsley is the National Storytelling Laureate. She use narratives the explore the real and imagined worlds that we inhabit and works around the globe as a narrative consultant and performer.
She believes we make sense of the world through the stories we choose to hear about ourselves and the stories we choose to share. her aim is to peel away the social constructs that make people feel inadequate and enable them to become the narrators of their own lives.