I was speaking with an artist friend a few weeks ago, and he asked about my color for the letter “M”. Christian isn’t a synesthete, but he is keenly interested in synesthetic phenomena, and what synesthesia can tell us about perception. He knows I have highly saturated experiences of color that map on to my letters, my numbers, my months of the year and more. So asking about my “M” is as natural as inquiring about my recent vacation, or my plans for the coming summer.
Christian gave me advance notice that he wanted to talk about the color of M and lexemes (whole words) that begin with M. I looked through all of my art supplies for pencils or paint that captured the hue of this letter, but I found nothing that matched the intensity and luminosity that I see in my mind’s eye with a name like Melinda or a month like May. So, I went into the kitchen and whipped up a batch of M.
I started with a pint of fresh raspberries, which I crushed with a mortar and pestle. Then I added beet juice and a few petals from some dark pink Transvaal daisies. When the color wasn’t quite the match for “M” I was seeking, I broke down and added a few drops of Clarins “Rose Water” lip stain.
The resulting color is the most lovely ruby reddish pink. It is almost a perfect match for M, and it’s also the shade of May. Most of my colored months aren’t mapped to my lexemes; October the month is warm yellow even though the word October is white, and the month of December is black, but the word December is purple. May matches the letter M and I am crazy about its juicy fresh berry hue.