A few years ago, while having lunch with a friend, I made a comment along the lines of, “Yum, this sandwich tastes really yellow; I love it!” I realized with a bit of a shock what I had just said out loud. My friend, on the other hand, happily said, “Oh, you’re a synesthete!” At the time I had never heard that word, and I had no concept that there was a normal word describing my freakiness.
Now, I know that I am, in fact, a synesthete, which in my case basically means that I taste food as colours. More interesting to me is that I also feel numbers, letters, and some people as colours. For example, the number ‘7’ is orange, the letter ‘a’ is pink, and my husband is white.
I was recently guided to a book called A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass. In it, Mia (whose name I think is brown with pink stripes, but she thinks is “candy apple red with a hint of light green”) is a synesthete who sees and hears things as colours and shapes. She thinks she’s a freak. This book is totally changing my world! It’s amazing to read about this strange little quirk that I have: to recognize things about myself through a character. Yes, I could have taken the new term given to me by my friend and done some research, but it’s been so much more rewarding and exciting to have Mia talk about something, and realize that I know exactly what she means, bizarre as it sounds! (It’s also nice to potentially have an excuse for being so unbelievably crummy at math!)
I wonder if other people have books to which they’ve had strong emotional reactions – characters in whom they unexpectedly see themselves or plotted situations which are uncannily similar to their own. Care to share? vintage post 2009