Friday, March 28, 2008


Have you ever described something visual as delicious? Or laid eyes on visual clutter and labeled it cacophony ? This is the phenomenon of synesthesia, the crossing over of the senses, and we all do it.

There are even people who see the letters of the alphabet in different colors or have assigned different hues to the days of the week in their mind’s eye. In her book, Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens, How Synesthetes Color their World, Patricia Lynne Duffy describes in depth her such experiences and those of others.

In Buenos Aires I would be awakened early each morning to rattling trucks careening down the avenue at breakneck speed. These behemoths, seeming only to be loosely attached components of scrap metal, hit every bump in the road, surely losing nuts and bolts along the way. As I lay in my bed with my eyes closed, this auditory experience transmogrified into giant mobiles of swaying Mondrianesque rectangles of primary hues.

Last night, Saint-Saens’ Symphony in No. 3 in C minor evoked all kinds of imagery, especially swirling bowls of cake batter with lots and lots of butter. But I think I was just hungry.

Now please, if you will, post a comment and tell me about your synesthetic experiences. I will be listening as I read them.


Pat said...

How interesting to ead about your synesthetic experience! and so glad to know you've read m story too.
In further explorations of synesthesia, you may find it useful to have a look at the book's web site, the "Blue Cats Synesthesia Resource Center", which also links tomany articles and programs about synesthesia:

Elizabeth Brown said...

Pat, I LOVED the storytelling in your book when your dad made a pink crayon for you, burning down and red and a white one. And especially what happened when you wanted to mix them all up. “Colors hide within everything, including the night.”
Katherine Vaz, Saudade

Shahri said...

Hi Liz,
My house is worth shit. That would
be the color brown.

Elizabeth Brown said...

Tell it like it is Shahri!

Christine said...

Hi Elizabeth - so glad to find your color blog. My daughter has synesthesia to the extent she assigns colors to letters and numbers with very specific shades. It wasn't until she was 14 that she discovered few people have this particular version making her feel quite special!
Boston mom to a colorful kid!

Pat said...

Thank you, Elizabeth (your name is red) for the lovely comment about the "crayon story" in my book, "Blue Cats". I also love your colorful blog! Just in case it's of interest, below is a recent article about synesthesia: