Monday, April 14, 2014

Listening to the Color of Bacon

If you’re using April to get your poetry game on, then it’s a good time to talk about those sensuous senses! 

Just for clarification, we’re talking about the five senses  we’ll not be covering the “I see dead people” sense today. Sorry.

Anyway, using vivid descriptions of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures can certainly add to the richness of any writing, but they come in especially handy when smacking down a good poem.

For example, you could have your Kansas wheat dancing in the wind, the sun’s warm kiss upon your cheek, or the prickle of a hedgehog on your tongue. Whatever.

Then you could push it, punch it, and pull it like taffy  take your writing to the place where…

Derek tastes like earwax.

Welcome to the land of Synesthesia!

Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which people experience blended senses. For example, sound and sight may be intermingled such that a person sees colorful fireworks whenever she hears music. 

A great demonstration of synesthesia occurs in the movie Ratatouille when Remy explains flavor combinations to his “muscle your way past the gag reflex” brother Emile. For the foodie rat, flavors evoke fireworks and music. For Emile… not so much.

For some synesthetics, words actually evoke flavor sensations  like the guy in the UK who really does taste earwax whenever he says, hears, or reads the name Derek. For others it’s a smell/sound tangle  like the gentleman who smells bacon whenever he hears the Lord’s Prayer.

Trust me, I am not making this up.

Anyway, you can use the concept of synesthesia to make your writing sensational

For example, his name could be sweet cinnamon on your tongue, you might move to the melody of the sun all summer long, or her shirt could be sprinkled with the painful language of purple.

So, while synesthesia can be an unfortunate condition, particularly if your best friend’s name is Derek or you salivate like Pavlov’s dog when Our Father arts in heaven, there's no doubt that thinking in synesthetic terms can make your writing…

 smell fabulous!

PROMPT: Make shapes taste funny and colors smell strange. Or get serious and contemplate the pale sound of autumn and the sun’s winter silence. Push the writing envelope today just for fun, just for you  no one else has to see, hear, or taste it. For visual artists  pick a piece of music and paint the melody. Singing bacon is optional.

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