“Sing Me a Sunrise”: Weaponizing the Fractals of Synesthesia

bunch of yellow chrysanthemum flowersIf I could hear colors, I wonder if yellow sounds like Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers, or the first sip of honey turmeric milk tea; or the word “infatuation” tastes like rosewater and lavender white chocolate; and every Thursday has the personality of a blue hour morning.

At least, this is what I think whenever someone mentions synesthesia.

I hope the perceptual phenomenon would stimulate the senses for a poetic benefit.

In the short story, “Synesthesia”, by Devin DeMarco, published in Lackington’s Issue 23–“Battles”, synesthesia is tangibly weaponized to battle against opposing teams for glory.

For example, you can manifest and hurl a “bright pumpkin orange explosion” at an opponent when your senses are triggered by your teammate sending you certain musical notes–like Bach’s short appoggiaturas and Debussy’s augmented triads–through an earpiece. Classical music would be a “cocoon of purples, blues, and greens”–cold and constricting but stabilizing–to block out the onslaught of your opponent (nicknamed the ‘Falcons’) “launching prismatic projectiles” as brutal olfaction of choice.

I loved this story. 

As a speculative fiction writer and poet, I can never get enough of the sensations and textures of words themselves. DeMarco’s short story reminded me of how fun it is to unapologetically write colorful prose!

I take my work way too seriously sometimes, to where I get too caught up in the process and focus more on how a piece will be received as opposed to dedicating my best efforts to producing it. There isn’t anything wrong with that; in fact, I believe it’s normal for any creator, no matter their medium, to get lost in the creative sauce.

When I came across “Synesthesia”, it was during a time where I began questioning how I wanted to define my writing voice in fiction and try writing short stories. For years prior, I stayed in the comfort zone of speculative poetry because fiction intimidated me. To be honest, it still does, but it was a genre I always wanted to explore. That’s not to say my relationship with poetry wasn’t sincere–rather, I believed it was the only genre where I could express my best work.multicolored abstract illustration

“Synesthesia” was exactly what I needed to give myself the push to explore fiction despite my fears, delve deeper into its style and craft, and see how my poetry background might enhance my fiction voice altogether.

One thing I knew for a fact while reading this short was this: DeMarco had a blast writing it.

I forgot that writing can just be fun, and not every piece I create has to be published, award-winning, or recognizable to be valid–although that would be phenomenal. I don’t need to pressure myself to create a perfect piece of poetry or fiction every time I open a blank page. I can simply write for myself and explore the potential of writing for a new genre and test the limits of my imagination. Most of all, I can take the time to produce an incredible piece of writing and allow myself to wholeheartedly experience the sensations it triggers. I love that words can feel alive, tangible, and intimate. It’s pretty wild that they have the power to elicit sensations at all.

Thank you for writing “Synesthesia”, Devin.

I know exactly where I want to take my narrative voice in fiction writing now.