Have you heard of it?  Do you know what it is?

Synesthesia is basically a neurological phenomenon where a person’s senses are mixed.  For example, they may look at black and white letters but see them in color, like refrigerator magnets.  They may hear music and see colors– or even hear music and experience taste!

Wikipedia says, “In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored, while in ordinal linguistic personification, numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be “farther away” than 1990), or may have a (three-dimensional) view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise). Yet another recently identified type, visual motion → sound synesthesia, involves hearing sounds in response to visual motion and flicker. Over 60 types of synesthesia have been reported, but only a fraction have been evaluated by scientific research.

Is that not the coolest thing you’ve ever heard of?  My friend Elyse said having synesthesia would be incredible for a writer or artist– just think of all the metaphor that would open up to you.  You could perhaps hear color or taste music or some other wild and fantastic combination.

Thoughts on this?  Have any of your experienced anything like synesthesia?

books books books

Just finished:
the whole Narnia series (again)

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith — it was okay, kinda sweet, didn’t knock my socks off
Mister Death’s Blue-eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn — not the best-written book ever, but especially interesting since it was based off a true event in the author’s childhood

Chloe and the Lion
by Mac Barnett, a children’s book about writing a children’s book, super cute

When She Woke
by Hillary Jordan, a fascinating futuristic retelling of The Scarlet Letter, set in a society where criminals’ skin is dyed according to their crime.  It was fun to see the parallels with Hawthorne’s story.  I really liked this book except for one scene that was completely out of place and (I believe) cheaply inserted by the author to make her book trendier.

and Me Talk Pretty One Day, both by David Sedaris — so ridiculously funny!  I am talking literally laugh-outloud funny.  But also sometimes inappropriate.  Proceed with caution. 🙂  But I love David Sedaris, and his audiobooks are even better than the paper versions because you get to hear the stories exactly the way he intends.  I listened in my car and kept wondering what the drivers around me were thinking of the weirdo in the Stratus who was laughing like a madwoman with no one in the passenger seat.

Currently reading:
That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis — breathtaking.

The Name of this Book is Secret
by Pseudonymous Bosch — a children’s story, riveting.  The narrator is very, very intrusive, and I kind of adore it.  So good.  Would be a fascinating read for late elementary-aged students, perhaps fifth grade.

Up next:
About fifteen books (mostly novels) about synesthesia, which I will blog about on Friday!

Any suggestions for my next must-read book?

the YouTube vortex

I have to admit that I am a YouTube junkie … I spent more time on YouTube than anyone I know, actually.  I love NigaHiga and Michael Buckley and LIVELAVALIVE and Wheezy Waiter.  I follow MeekaKitty and MirandaSings (and her vlogs!).  KevJumba, Julian Smith, Schmoyoho, Arturo Trejo, Charlieissocoollike, Community Channel.  And the VlogBrothers, whom I simultaneously adore and am intimidated by.

As you all know, after you watch a YouTube video, the screen conveniently shows you other videos you might enjoy.  Sometimes this leads me into the YouTube vortex.

I will demonstrate.

I was researching synesthesia for a possible future book, so I watched this:

Which led me to watch this video about another extraordinary situation (this man only has a 30-second memory):

Which led me to watch this video about a blind young man who clicks his tongue to use his own SONAR:

Which led me to watch this video about children murdering other children:

Which freaked me out. So I went back to watching about extraordinary people, including this ADORABLE girl who ages 8 times faster than everyone else:

(I looked her up! She is still alive at age 15!)

Which led me to watch these FIVE videos about this five-year-old who believes he is reincarnated:

Desiree was on vacation, so I was alone in the apartment, and let’s just say I went to bed that evening feeling a little creeped out.

(Will you judge me if I tell you that there were 2-3 more videos in that lineup as well?)

Do you watch YouTube? Have you ever been sucked into the vortex?

Week of the Lovely Lines: Friday

You knew I had to include Peace Like a River quotes this week, right?  How could I possibly share a week of lovely lines and not quote Leif Enger, whose brilliant fiction often reads like poetry?  He delights me on paper and is just as wonderful in person!

“I remember it as October days are always remembered, cloudless, maple-flavored, golden and so clean it quivers.” 

“When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of earth.”

“Be careful whom you choose to hate. The small and the vulnerable own a protection great enough, if you could but see it, to melt you into jelly. Beware those who reside beneath the shadow of the Wings.” 

How about this from So Brave, Young, and Handsome:

“…for his life seemed a curving line, capricious, moment by moment inviting grace.” 


Week of the Lovely Lines: Thursday

What week of lovely lines would truly be complete without at least one poem?  Here, I present to you one of e.e. cummings’ best, with a stunning final line.  I remember re-reading this my second year of college, alone in my dorm, and the tears started just running down my face.  It was as if I were coming alive again, remembering why I loved words.

I sat on my roommate’s couch, reading and re-reading this poem.  It was like a gift.

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Week of the Lovely Lines: Wednesday

Today is a menagerie of utter gorgeousness taken from Peter Beagle’s book The Last Unicorn.  You can’t tiptoe your way through this book without bumping into beauty every few paragraphs.

“Your name is a golden bell hung in my heart. I would break my body to pieces to call you once by your name.” 

“He thought, or said, or sang, I did not know that I was so empty, to be so full.” 

“Another sound followed them long after these had faded, followed them into morning on a strange road – the tiny dry sound of a spider weeping.”

These flabbergast me.  He thought, or said, or sang … yes.  Yes.

Week of the Lovely Lines: Tuesday

Today’s lovely line comes from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  The first time I read this line, I thought I had never heard something prettier.  It still gets me every time.

“She was the book thief without the words.  Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.

The image is pure genius.  If you can write a better line than that, I want to shake your hand.

Week of the Lovely Lines: Monday

  Do you ever encounter a line or a passage in a book that makes you shiver with delight, one that bends your mind, or (if you’re a writer) one that makes you so envious you could scream?  In all my years of reading, I have encountered some lines that just take my breath away every time I read them.  This week, I’m going to share them with you.

Today’s lines come from That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis.

“As the desert first teaches men to love water, or as absence first reveals affection, there rose up against this background of the sour and the crooked some kind of vision of the sweet and the straight. Something else – something he vaguely called the “Normal” – apparently existed…. It was all mixed up with Jane and fried eggs and soap and sunlight and the rooks cawing at Cure Hardy and the thought that, somewhere outside, daylight was going on at that moment. He was not thinking in moral terms at all; or else (what is much the same thing) he was having his first deeply moral experience. He was choosing a side: the Normal.”

Mmm … all those k-sounds!  Rooks cawing at Cure Hardy.  LOVE.

How about this:

“great syllables of words that sounded like castles came out of his mouth”

That sounded like castles.  I’m in love.

Jack Lewis, you are my hero.

contests and stuff

Lately, I have been entering as many writing contests as I can.  If it has no entry fee, and if I have something that I can re-work to fit the contest guidelines, then I’ve been going for it.

I am NOT keeping track of what I enter.

Why?  Because I don’t anticipate winning these contests, and I don’t want to get too wrapped up in whether or not I have.  If I do, they’ll let me know, and it will be a fun surprise.

And if I do, I’ll be sure to let you know too!!!

What have you been going for in life lately?  Any new dreams or goals?