Another photo of mine to break up the text…
Hey everyone, thanks for continuing to read the blog and commenting on the various posts. Even though I don’t have time to reply to them very often I still read them all and they remind me I should really update this more often!
Lately I’ve been busy writing – writing is one of those ‘dream job’ things for me; always wanted to end up as a writer but always put it to the back of my mind thinking well so do loads of people. For that reason I never wrote a thing, convinced anything I put to paper would be terrible.
But we’re into a new decade now so I thought why the hell not! So that’s what I’ve been busy doing. I decided to start with short stories because there are a lot of short story competitions out there and I knew that setting goals like entering the competitions would spur me on.
‘How’s this relevant?’ I hear you say! I’ve decided to enter the Ambit (200 words) competition with a synaesthesia-related bit of semi-prose semi-poetry.
At the moment I haven’t got a clue whether what I’ve written sounds completely bonkers or whether it sort of makes sense, but once the competition has been and gone and I’m happy with my entry I’ll post it on here to see what you think.
Back to the old writing… I’ll leave you with an author recommendation, someone who I absolutely love right now – Haruki Murakami. His short stories especially are inspired. I can’t stop reading his work.
Thanks for all your questions folks, here’s answers to a few more….
From Chris, 29th Sept 09
Q: What way do you see your synesthesia. As a progector or an associator?
A: I’m an associator – the colours are in my mind’s eye not in external space.
From Vivian, 27th Sept 09
Q: Is it possible to have just pain synethesia? I dont have any others exept I do see the color red when thinking of it.
A: I suppose so, though I’m not a scientist, just a synaesthete. Maybe non-synaesthetes can tell us if they see pain as red?
From Tasha, 11th August 09
Q:What do you find most difficult?
What do you enjoy about it?
What if anything makes you feel lonely or isolated about having syn?
A: The most difficult thing is when the colour I see for a person doesn’t match the colour their personality projects – then I tend to forget their name or get them mixed up with someone else.
I enjoy (love!) everything about it, it’s part of me, and I love seeing colour all the time.
For me synaethesia causes no loneliness or isolation.
There have been so many comments on the blog since I stopped writing so I will try and reply to some even if they were from as far back as 2007, because my answers might be the answers other people are searching for too.
Anna (comment on ‘music colour synaesthesia’ June 20th 2007) – it’s good that you found out about what your daughter was experiencing. I don’t know of any particular synaesthesia tests but it’s my personal opinion that synaesthesia is so diverse and complicated that standard tests may not be satisfactory and don’t really prove anything anyway. I hope your daughter is able to enjoy her colours and sensations.
Sam (comment on ‘music colour synaesthesia’ May 30th 2008) – Oliver Sacks is pretty cool isn’t he – I’m reading ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat’ at the moment which is fantastic. I haven’t read Musicophilia though so I’ll have to buy that next. At the moment I think I only see colours rather than experience hallucinatory sensations, but similar to you I do find that my synaesthesia evolves, or I notice it in different circumstances, so I don’t rule anything out.
More answers to come…
I find myself becoming increasingly disappointed when a singer or some such person in the public eye who I’ve heard about does not live up to the colour I saw for them. What I mean is, as I’ve mentioned before, people seem to have colours that are somtimes unrelated to just their name, so their name can have a colour but then they as a person might be a different colour (very confusing). I always find it a bit disconcerting when someone turns out to be the ‘wrong’ colour.
For example, the singer Jack Penate was very vibrant orange (because J is orange), but Jack has always been black to me so that was the first confusion. And then I saw a photo of Jack Penate and he SO was NOT orange and it was all wrong. He’s more of a fuzzy browny black in person.
I suppose it works the other way around too though – it’s quite nice when someone does match their colour, like Kate Nash. I had imagined her to be orangy brown from the first time I heard her (possibly because the song she sang was Caroline’s A Victim and ‘Caroline’ I saw as orange). It was refreshing to then see her on tv and realise that the colours I imagined weren’t a bad match for the colours of her in person.
I still haven’t been able to pinpoint what it is about a person that makes them a certain colour though. I think it will always remain a mystery.
My post on music-colour synaesthesia has been the most visited item on my blog, and has also become the most interesting area of synaesthesia to me recently.
I have been, for a while, fairly convinced that I have grapheme-colour synaesthesia (I see words, numbers, names as colours) and nothing else. But since taking a synesthesia quiz which involved a section on music, where I scored quite highly for syn in some of the musical areas, I have started to think more and more about music-colour synaesthesia.
I have come to believe that in certain circumstances I DO actually experience synaesthetic perceptions in music, but that I had never really noticed before. But since I only see colours in my mind’s eye rather than actually SEEING them in front of my eyes, it is difficult to determine what causes the occasional synaesthesia responses.
A lot of the time, it is just the name of the song or artist that provides the overall colour of the song, which would still make it grapheme-colour synaesthesia. For example, the song ‘Peach, Plum, Pear’ by Joanna Newsom is a deep purply colour and I can only assume I am seeing a plum colour (although I am still unaware as to why plum would stand out more than peach or pear). But while listening to Anxiety Attack by Jeffrey Lewis I started to see flashing black and pink spots in the intro to the song.
I thought it was quite interesting, but I am still not sure what to make of it. It just seems, as usual, to be a useless quirk that doesn’t really mean anything. I still like it though.