Thursday, October 28, 2010


This morning I was trying to write a scene where lice play an important role. What are lice like? I am lucky enough to have no idea. No, really, I don't!

So although I eschew e-books, I happily went online to research lice. Of which, it turns out, there are many sorts. My arm itched a little just looking at the pictures.

Lice are small. They are bugs. They are itchy, and lay eggs, and can carry diseases. But what do they FEEL like crawling up your arm? My head itched. Do they skitter like tiny ants? Do they bite with a piercing red itch, like a flea (now those I have had)? My elbow itched. Do they just wander around causing general itching, like poison ivy (ditto)? Can you eat them like monkeys do? What do they taste like? Crunchy? Salty? Squirmy or so tiny you can't even tell whether you're biting down on a louse or a poppy seed?

Pretty soon I was scratching myself all over but still no closer to understanding, truly, personally, in the flesh, what it's like to have lice. And soon I may have to face the question: how far am I willing to go in the name of verisimilitude and accurate writing?

The answer makes me itch.

1 comment:

Babs said...

I'm itchin' itchin'!