Book Pages Through the Eyes of a Synesthete


Book Pages Through the Eyes of a SynestheteRemember back when I showed you how book covers look through my synesthesia? Ever since then I’ve been planning to do another post about it — and can you believe it’s been almost a year?! Dang. Well. The cool thing is that I’m finally getting around to writing up another post about it. But this time I wanted to do something a little bit different.

A few things to note before moving forward:

  • I have grapheme-color synesthesia, which means I see letters and numbers in color.
  • Normally, number colors are most distinct because they are essentially always by themselves.
  • Letter colors tend to blend together for each word, so the word has a smudge of color(s), instead of seeing each individual letter in its own color. Make sense?
  • Basically, when processing a letter or number on its own, I see the color strongly. This makes looking at license plates while sitting in traffic a fun exercise in color patterns.

So how does this translate to words on the page of a book?

Most of the time, I’ve gotten pretty good at sort of tuning out the colors of a word, unless I am sitting and focusing on it instead of just passing my eyes over it as I read it. But sometimes the colors just make this rainbow sparkle in front of my eyes — imagine the words being printed with rainbow glitter instead of ink!

Do you ever start zoning out sometimes when you’re reading? Maybe your mind is wandering or you’re sleepy, or your eyes just don’t want to focus on reading the words? When this happens to me, it is prime-time for a synesthesia rainbow experience! When my eyes un-focus and aren’t even processing the words as words, then the whole page turns into individual letters — and thus individual colors.

It’s kind of weird because often I don’t even notice it’s happening at first, and I just continue zoning out with the colorful noise sprinkling in front of my eyes. I think the colors tend to sparkle and sprinkle because all of the letters are different colors, and since I’m not focusing anywhere on the page, my gaze sort of shifts around (even more so when the type is smaller).

Here’s what it looks like when that happens (more or less).

What a book page looks like with my synesthetic colors.

Makes it a bit difficult to process, eh? So, once I realize I’m zoning out (thanks to the rainbow sparkles), I either have to focus harder on reading, or just close the book and do something else. At least it’s entertaining and pretty to look at!

What do you think?

Do you have grapheme-color synesthesia? Is it the same for you? If you don’t have grapheme-color synesthesia, what do you  think about this? Would you enjoy it? Would it get on your nerves?

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