Thursday, September 4, 2014


The word "frisson" has been on my mind lately. It came up in class the other day, as my students discussed the following poem by Hsueh T'ao, one of many in our study of early Chinese poetry by women. 

Spring Gazing Song 
Blossoms crowd the branches: too beautiful to endure.
Thinking of you, I break into bloom again.
One morning soon, my tears will mist the mirror.
I see the future, and I will not see.

It is difficult not to react to these words. One way to describe the sensation brought on by reading these lines is "frisson" -- a kind of mental and physical shiver.   

When I got home that day, I created this layout, which brings together a series of "day in the life" detail shots and reflects on the moments of "frisson" in teaching and learning -- moments that can be epiphanic, that can lead to a hunger for more shiver-worthy experiences.  

The selfie included in the mix is of a pretty haggard me at the end of the day. Initially, I wasn't going to include it, but it's that exhausted teacher who is exhausted for a really (truly) good reason who needs to be on this page, just as she is. 

More details can be found on the JBS Mercantile blog


  1. yes! a frnech word!! frisson in french means shivers. I like the nuance in the english meaning. And as a teacher I do relate: yes I have the same kind of face at the end of the day and I often feel it was worth it! and thank Gos for morning make up!!

  2. what a inspiring page Jill! Loving all the hand journaling and pictures!!