A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P QR S T U V W X Y ZA black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
which buzz around cruel smells,
Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
in anger or in the raptures of penitence;
U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
the peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;
O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
silences crossed by [Worlds and by Angels]:
–O the Omega! the violet ray of [His] Eyes!
I only realised a couple of years ago that I have synesthesia. I was at Teachers College and was on my first teaching practice. I was doing a poetry unit and decided to use the French poet Arthur Rimbaud as a model. Rimbaud has a poem (above) that describes what colour, sound and texture each vowel has. In class I drew a big ‘A’ on the board and asked the students to tell me what colour they thought of when they saw or thought of the letter A. I was met by blank stares and there was much confusion as most of the class could not get past the fact that I had written the letter in black marker. Confused and dispirited I googled the idea of letters having colours, and voila, I learnt about synesthesia. Here is its definition according to Wiki:a neurologically based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored
This is what I have – grapheme. How I see each letter (as close as I could get) is shown above.
But words take on their own colour depending on what I conceive as the dominant letter(s). For most words the dominant letter will be the first one. But some words have more than one dominant letter, thus the colour changes part way through the word. For example, LAZY looks like this: LAZY
This also explains why I really didn’t like my name as a child, because ‘L’ is an insipid yellow that is one of my least favourite colours.
Upon further reading I have also found that I have a type of spacial synesthesia where I have a calendar for the months in my head that reaches out in front of me. It works clockwise with December the furthest away, July the closest. It also records how many days are in each month, which explains why, as a child, I couldn’t understand why people had to rely upon little rhymes or counting on their knuckles to figure out how many days in May.
So that’s my explanation for a small portion of my odd ways.