It was a Monday and therefore a pink day as I sat down to cut out coloured letters to paste onto bristol board for a poster project I'd volunteered to do. I switched on the radio and found myself listening to a CBC program about Synaesthesia, the phenomenon of the crossing and combining of the senses and which I share with other synaesthetes. How a-propos, I thought, to be doing the thing I'm listening about. Sort of. Because the colours of the letters I was cutting didn't correspond to my own personal colour alphabet. That alphabet never changes and has been with me forever. I'll explain more about that in a minute.
But first here's an example of one of the posters. There are 12 in all of various designs and will be displayed at our annual ART FAYRE in Dunvegan this coming June. I wanted to get them done now before the gardening weather arrives. Plus they were kind of fun to do.
There were a lot of leftover bits from cutting out the letters so I turned some of them into ATCs (artist trading cards) such as the ones above which I'll trade at the end of the month at our local card swap.
So...PINK Monday. (Altho' it looks more lilac in the example above...blame my scanner)For me the days of the week have specific colour auras and have always appeared in my mind's eye as they do above. So do the months of the year and numerals. Though I was poor at math (except for geometry) the colour combinations helped with learning the times-tables. Other conditions common to synesthetes, or 'synnies' as we're now called for the sake of speed, are: left-right confusion, (many of us are lefties including myself); poor sense of direction (I study maps a lot); a photographic memory, which I have to some degree; and perfect pitch, which I don't think I have but I've noticed that when my scanner starts up it plays what sounds to me like the first three notes of a Hungarian rhapsody.
Some 'synnies' have a harder time with their condition as they are over-connected to the stimuli of their surroundings and freak out in noisy cities with traffic and neon lights. They might taste colours and experience sounds as physically painful.
One theory is that we are all synnies at birth but most people 'prune' away unnecessary connections between the senses. Those of us who remain 'unpruned' continue life with this curious condition.
Years ago I attended a meeting of synesthetes as part of a research project headed by a Montreal university student. At first we all had a lovely time sharing and comparing our own personal quirky experiences but after a couple of hours the interest faded. I think it was because our own personal take on being a 'synnie' was just that, personal and of little real interest. After all, if you see 'S' as green and I see it as red, where do we go from there? As I recall none of us exchanged phone numbers. But we did enjoy the moment and a piece of home-made apple pie.