I’m listening to a news audiobook this week. In it, the narrator does hand lettering and calligraphy. At various points in the story so far, she has described how she often sees the letters of the words people say, as though they are out in front of her, and she describes to the reader the size and style and font and, even at times, movement of those words. Every time she does this, I find myself agreeing with her. Yes, I saw it that way, too…, because I had seen it that way, when the other characters had said what they had said, before the narrator had described the way she had heard and seen it. I don’t have the education regarding specific fonts that she seems to have, but I’ve done a touch of research along the way, as she mentions something of which I am not certain, and now understand exactly what she means as she describes various fonts and words. And I get it, every time.
Which made me suddenly realize that, though I can relate so easily to this character in this way, I do not believe that was necessarily the intention. That is, I think she was more meant to be a sort of artistic anomaly, one that is fascinating to the normal folk, because they are not like she is; they do not see the world of words as she does.
At the very least, however, I have a fictional comrade in seeing the words that people speak, and then, likely, at least one person in real life, be it the author or someone the author knows. So, I’m not entirely alone on this.
But it does have me wonder how many people do actually see words this way, as I and this character do. Like how some people hear smells or see sounds; like how Julie’s R is always the color purple (a girl from my program back in France, many years ago). Is this a matter of neuron pruning, like synesthesia? Is it only a small piece of the population, or are there actually millions out there?
In a way, I wonder how alone I am on this way that my brain functions…