Language takes as many forms as there are cultures. Pictures, tone, sounds, gestures and symbols combine to shape our communication. We all see each element of language a little differently.

I’m working on Hero and Three Unexpected Encounters right now, a weird novella. In it, the history of the world is carved on the gigantic teeth of a woman-mountain, and my hero has to read it to find her next goal.

She’s never learned to read, and expresses this frustration to the librarian. His response is that she doesn’t need to read. The histories are visual.

I’m basing this on a sort of cultural synesthesia, where music manifests as a sort of internal, visual pictograph. Looking at the first tooth, Hero can see that same sort of pictograph on the tooth, and realizes that the histories are composed of thousands of individual songs, each representing an aspect of the whole.

In a way, it is similar to the ‘tapestry’ concept, where each person is represented by a thread in the whole, or a collage of images forming a super-image. However, this is far more complex, as each song is the complete life-story of each individual on the face of the earth. Not just people. Animals. Gods. Rocks. Air.

It is huge, and intended to be so. Originally, I’d had Hero interacting directly with the Mother-Mountains themselves, before scale introduced itself to my logic. Hero’s a giant, but the Mother-Mountains are the size of Mt. Hood, in their own way.

I love the idea of music as image as language. But, my question is, will non-synesthesia people understand it?


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