Tuesday, October 02, 2007


According to that fount of info, Wikipedia, Synesthesia is "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." If you watched House last night, you already know what I'm talking about. Boiled down it's seeing sound or hearing colors. The picture I've included is how someone with synesthesia might see written letters and numbers.

Why do you care, you ask? I'll tell you why. (You knew I would.) Synesthesia can make for some interesting writing, when applied with a little deft. It can create some truly memorable descriptions. A synesthetic metaphor is a metaphor that suggests a similarity between experiences in different senses. Ex: Macy's offered a buffet of clothes.

Examples: A loud shirt, a bubbling-hot stench, shadows brushed her skin like feathers, damp morning light, the dark red scent of blood
See what I mean? Think of how you can use this in your own writing to increase the impact of your descriptions. Try to come up with your own examples - post them in the comments if you do, I'd love to hear them!


  1. I used this the other day in my writing.

    "you taste purple" (H/H kissed after he ate a grape snow cone.)

  2. That was a good episode last night.

    Good post, K. I'll try to come back with something later. :)

  3. Cool! But I'm drawing a complete...blank.

  4. I loved the House episode. :)

    The murderer's rancid laughter filled the court room when the judge said, "Not guilty."

    Like that?

  5. The stench of rotted flesh...

    I need sleep.

  6. Here's one: "Angry dishes." That's what's in my sink after dinner. :-) Thanks for the lesson. Very interesting.

  7. lol I do that all the time. :-)

  8. I heart House. So much. Although I will say, I didn't recognize the term from the episode, because I hear nothing but white noise when they go into the medical stuff, for the most part. I just wait for someone to suggest it might be lupus (it never is) so they can go do the test and House can go torture Cuddy.

  9. Interesting Post. My son has autism and synasthesia. You might want to check out the book "A Mango Shaped Space." It's YA, but well worth the read for a bit more insight into this unique way of perceiving the world.