I have synesthesia. I discovered this in 1995 while in grad school when a particularly intuitive guest artist asked me what color the word “photography” is to me. When I said, “swirling pink and brown” he informed me that not everybody sees words in color. This surprised me. But it explained why, in a critique a few days earlier I received 12 blank stares when I described Tuesday as orange. Cody suggested I read The Man Who Tasted Shapes, and this changed my world.
I thought everybody saw words, letters, days of the week, months and years in color. I thought everybody tasted color. I thought everybody “heard” color in music. Some music color is so “loud” it fills a room. Smashing Pumpkins create an orange-red-yellow swirling, creamy fog when turned up loud. Nirvana’s music looks more like a gradient from pale, diode-green to a deep sea-indigo. These colors are not associative; they represent as part of the experience of listening to the music.