07 August 2014

Publishing news: haiku and synaesthesia

(c) Dollar Photo
I'm pleased to announce that ExFic, "the home of subversion, surrealism, and freedom in writing," will be publishing my poem "Haiku of the Synesthete" next week!

The haiku is one of my favorite poetic forms in which to write. Originating from Japan in the 13th century, the style is renowned for its deceptive simplicity, but perhaps most famously for its syllabic patterns. This is the rule of 5-7-5, where the first line must be five syllables in length, the second line seven syllables in length, and the third line another five syllables in length.  

I'd come across ExFic before a few times on my search for writing opportunities. The site's editor, Sophie Boyce, is a published writer and poet from the UK, and the site specializes in the deliciously weird. When I saw the opportunity to submit was available, I jumped at the chance. I took a whack at poetry and chose for my subject synesthesia, because it's one of the weirdest and most surrealistic of human experiences. 

Oh, and I have personal experience with it. Although for most of my life, I didn't realize that synaesthesia was a thing, and that at its heart it's considered a neurological disorder. As a simple explanation, synaesthesia describes the process in which the brain mixes and matches the five senses together to come up with unique associations. 

Presenting Kristina
as nail polish!
(c) Incidental Twin
My friend and fellow author Sami Holloway is a synesthete and associates color with sounds, but also is able to see colors whenever she meets or speaks with other people. At is kitschiest, it's kind of like a "what color is your aura" BuzzFeed quiz, but much more complex than that. Whenever she speaks to me, and whenever we hung out at residency, she'd see a mix of purple and green (coincidentally my favorite colors). And do you know what's awesome? She made me into a nail polish!!! 

*As a sidenote and shameless promotion, Sami actually makes some of the best nail polishes Etsy has to offer. Check out her store Incidental Twin for geek polishes, literary polishes, and more. My personal favorite: Can You Feel it On Me Love, inspired by Florence + the Machine.*

Jumping back into synaesthesia-land, the senses I mix together are taste and sound. But a lot of what comes into play involves texture as well.  The best way I can explain it: I think people sound like food. Most people I come across have voices that sound like fish or noodle dishes. Once Sami told me, "I'm thinking your synaesthesia is mostly Asian-flavored." Although to be honest, there have been voices that sound like foods that I haven't actually tasted, either--it's the textures I associate with those foods.

Image Source
True story of my synaesthesia in action: my sophomore year in college, I took a history class from a Russian professor, and no matter what he said, the ends of his phrases reminded me specifically of Lo Mein noodles. Anytime he said a word with "cur" in it, which came out like "coewrrr," my mouth would start watering. And if he lectured for long periods of time, I'd start craving Lo Mein to no end, so I'd treat myself to Chinese takeout after classes.

Anyway, for ExFic I decided to try and translate my experience with taste and sound associations into poetic form, with each stanza in the form of a haiku. Food of choice: salty caramel. 

I'll let you know when it's up!

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