Synesthesia project

I submitted this to a contest (though I submitted a slightly different version). I don’t wish to explain this because I don’t want to change the way you view it. I dedicate this story to the St. John Child who is wonderful and my partner in crime.


Of Bleeding Snow Globes and Melting Clocks

She’s standing on the edge of something great. She’s on the verge of a revelation. The revelation to end all revelations is crawling up her arm like a web. Because the clocks are melting and the stars are blinking out as the structure of the universe is dissolving into grains of sand to be swallowed by the waters. If she turns, she’ll see the starving sea, ready to efface her.

Inanition laces the air with a trace of emptiness.

“I’m tired. Can’t you see? I’m tired. I used to be beautiful. Do you remember that? But you don’t want me to be beautiful. You see what I’ve become and you deny that there’s any way I could be anything more. All you can feel is the stench of scorched sugar; you don’t remember the sound of sweetness. And so you take your piece from me and point and laugh at how pathetic I’ve become. But can’t you see I’m done? Don’t you know what would happen if I gave up on you as you’ve given up on me? Can’t you see that you’ve torn my world to shreds as well as your own?”

In the abyss, the fog is curling. It’s rising, clawing its way up the cliff.

There’s no light, but it’s not dark because darkness has no objective existence. Darkness is just the absence of light, but the fabric of reality is so tattered that concepts are slipping through the holes. Ideas are seeping through the finger-nail cracks in her glass paradigm. She’s tried to patch the fractures, to mend the tiny fissures like broken bones, but now even her patches are starting to bleed.

“You can’t remember the days of green pastures. You don’t know of a time when skies were full of sweet sunshine and when the air wasn’t didn’t taste of ash. But then, you can’t see, can you? You don’t know what you’re doing—you’re just children playing with a fire that’s eating you alive.”

She’s holding a snow globe made of glass and patched with a fabric of her own blood, sweat, and tears. The water is churning behind her and the fog is pining below her. But here she stands, waiting for her revelation because she’s on the edge of something great.

“I could do it!” She screams, holding the battered snow globe over the abyss. “I could let go and be done with it!”

And the world is trembling as she quivers with the weight of a tiny glass globe. She could drop it. She could feed it to the fog and the confusion and the sorrow. “Is this it? I need something. Can’t you see they’re killing me?” she screams to the wind. Her face is raw from the wind and a constant beating from hands unseen. They’re trying to erase her. And slowly, ever so slowly, as the years wear on and the waters draw nearer, they’re winning.

And all she has to do is to cut the web binding her to her glass globe and throw it into the abyss. The fog would swallow it in a fit of lust. Somehow, some way, it would hit the ground. And her paradigm would shatter. The threads holding the universe would snap and reality would float away like a balloon in the wind.

A formless and empty Earth covered in deep waters would be all that remained in the universe. Because she’s getting tired of holding reality together. She’s getting tired of patching the holes only to discover new ones. Her fingers are raw from stitching.

And what thanks does she get?


They never stop trying to wipe her features from her face.

I’d like to paint for you a pretty picture. Pictures are two dimensional, no matter how pretty, and I think that’s all we need. Because without you, words are merely scratches on a pages and pictures are simply brush strokes without reason. No, no, we can’t forget how important you are in the proceedings. Love doesn’t exist without people.  An idle part of me has got to wonder: what part are you playing in mutilating her?

But the rest of me doesn’t care because it doesn’t matter anyway. If you’re not obliterating Love, someone else is.

So I’m going to paint a picture for you made of words. It’s not going to be a very good picture because I’m not a very good artist. We’ll have to face it; you’re better and you’ll always be better at drawing illusions around you.

What would Pyrrho say about your reality? But then again, does it really matter? Pyrrho is dead and gone and he left an army of skeptics in his wake. But I doubt you’re a true skeptic: it’s a hard legacy to live up to. I think being a cynic is easier. Did you know that cynic comes from the Greek “kunikos” meaning “dog-like”? The point? As much as we can argue about the nature of reality, I think it’s agreed upon that you can see the world around you much more clearly than I can.

Unless you’re a very talented skeptic, you don’t need me to point out the injustices of the world. You can already see them. You don’t need me to tell you want tragedy is. Because pain and loss are simply a part of the human condition—and as isolating as they feel, they’re one thing that is truly universal. Breathing might be another thing. Maybe.

Did anyone ever tell you that there’s no love without pain? I don’t think that it used to be true. But it might be now. Because I’m not sure love means what it used to mean.

Listen: Love’s speaking. She could bring about the end of the world.

“Do you even comprehend what I am!” She cries, but her words are stolen by the wind. So no one captured in her tiny snow globe Earth smells her tears. They’re automatons running on tiny train tracks, heartless and headless. They don’t need her because they’ve already poisoned her. They’ve transformed her into a lie: a pitiful imitation of the glory she used to live in. She used to be a beacon brimming with light. Now she’s shivering because she’s already breathed all the heat she contained onto her shattering world.

Pieces of her are fading into oblivion. It takes more than heat to fend off the ice and sleet.

The fog groans, rolling in its gluttony.

“Can’t you see? You’re killing me. You’re leeching me of my life. I’m fighting for you, can’t you see how hard I’m fighting? Can’t you see? I’ve tried to save you, but you’re draining me dry. You’re siphoning everything I have to give. This is your fault! Can’t you see? This is your fault. As I used to be, I would never have done this. I would never have given up. Because ‘Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.’ Do you remember that? Do you remember who I used to be?” The sea is burning and the melted clocks are congealing at her feet in lumps of dust-sweetened ash.

“I used to mean more, you know,” she tries to say, but her certainty was chipped away long ago. “’Love is patient and kind,’” she begins, her voice cracked from shouting.

Her mantra is a relic from the days when she was more than merely physical attraction. Desperation layers her voice. She can’t give up on them. She’s warring with the truth that those she’s battling hysterically to protect are slowly stealing her identity.

The bitterness of betrayal is assaults her nose.

“Love is not jealous or boastful or proudor rude.’” Tears run in rivers down her cheeks, sloshing in salt puddles at her feet. The sickly taste of charred sugar rises from her frost-scalded palms. Her fingers quiver with the intensity of her grip on her glass globe. She sacrificed the sun to her little world to satisfy its need for heat. But no matter what she did, she couldn’t starve off lust.

“’It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.’” The words are strangled in twisted shapes. They ring hollow in what’s left of her empty world. And she’s staring into the rumbling fog, begging to receive the patched and broken snow globe: a token of her surrender.

Did anyone ever tell you that there’s no love without pain? I don’t think that it used to be true. But it might be now. Because I’m not sure love means what it used to mean. But the world will still fall into ruin if Love would work up the courage to drop the broken Earth into the fog.

By spockinthehood

8 comments on “Synesthesia project

  1. My questions to students: what phrases jump out as specifically synesthetic? How has the author also used personification in a sor tof synesthete way? What are your questions about the piece? What was the line that most intrigued you or was most vivid in your mind’s eye? (I think the “sugar rises from her frost-scalded palms”)

  2. Here are some synesthesia examples that we noticed!

    “sweet sunshine and when the air wasn’t didn’t taste of ash.”
    “dust-sweetened ash.”

    “The bitterness of betrayal is assaults her nose.”

    We thought that you did an awesome job with descriptions and the mixing of senses really boosted the imagery

  3. Really interesting! Synesthesia, I thought, wasn’t overwhelming and the readers are more or less free to interpret their own way, which is good. To me, it seemed that the text was grey, dusty, almost old, synesthetically speaking.
    No particular connection, but I felt I could relate to this: “They never stop trying to wipe her features from her face.”
    Thank you!

  4. Briana this is amazing! Every element that I have ever been taught concerning creative writing is used in this composition. Your style is unheard of and the vocabulary is exquisite. Every component interacts wonderfully with one another. I think there are a few minor editing problems but they can be easily corrected. I would love to read more of your work! you are truly gifted ❤

  5. This comment is for Zach, Dillian, Alex, Johnson, and Daniel. We all enjoyed reading it but we had a difficult time understanding the text. I understood quite a bit. Braina (and yes I spell it Braina) likes to use large words, and I totally understand where she is coming from when I know something I want to show it off too. But other than that one complaint I really enjoyed the story. I really enjoyed the discription that she gave us. All I could think about what Camus descriptions, in the book, but you connected emotions with descriptions I really liked that. I think that we should read the book the Stranger in TOK. It goes well together well 🙂

  6. Zoe, Jacob, Michael: When we read the book, we were expecting the theme, the focus, and the majority of the story to be on synesthesia (at least for me, I was expecting a synesthete as a character, just based on the nature of the project). Our expectations were pleasantly subverted. The descriptive language that combined senses were blended well into the rest of the story and I could imagine that the theme/nature of the story would remain the same without these samples. I appreciated that it wasn’t in your face about it. In fact, had I not known that the story was for this project, I would have accepted the description without thinking of synethesia at all, since senses are often combined in poetic written works. We really enjoyed the line “All you can feel is the stench of scorched sugar; you don’t remember the sound of sweetness”.

  7. “’Love is patient and kind” reminded me of Macklemore haha.
    Anyways, I’m quite familiar to the way you talk and write so I can’t help but imagine you reading this. You seem to assert poetic imagery in rapid succession. It’s a one sided conversation, or possibly fight, directed at the reader who doesn’t quite understand what’s going on. Everything is “Why can’t you see?” and appears very aggressive. The format of speech directed at the reader with normal writing also directed at the reader (ex: So I’m going to paint a picture for you made of words.) gets a bit confusing. It works with the idea that one can never really understand Love, but it’s hard to follow at times. I don’t inherently think of synesthesia when I read this, but I’m glad you didn’t blatantly try and put imagery of synesthesia.

  8. Taylor and Claire:
    ~ We love the way that the synethtesia within this isn’t too overpowering. The way it is laced throughout the story really helps to enhance the memories that she recalls; and therefore indirectly develops the pain she is feeling.

    ” Skies were full of sweet sunshine”
    ~ A phrase within the story that jumped out as specifically synesthetic and created a calming imagery.
    The line that most intrigued Taylor was ” So I’m going to paint a picture for you made of words.” I think that it was just a beautifully written line, and i really connected to this line because words can paint absolutely anything.

    Overall we feel this piece is beautifully written, great job Briana! 🙂

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