This month I am taking a look at TASTE and how it can be incorporated into our writing as we paint a picture of our characters. Taste can, of course, have more than one interpretation. A character might have a questionable or excellent taste in clothes/boyfriends but today I’m focusing on the physical sensation we feel when a flavour reaches our taste buds. How can we use this to enhance a scene and capture the reader’s attention?
We can begin to form an image in our mind as we meet the newly converted teenage girl as she screws up her freckled nose in disgust and makes a gagging sound at the same time.
‘There’s bacon in this quiche, Mother. Didn’t you even check the label?’
This leads us to meeting her mother as she sighs, remembering the days when her daughter would join them in a Sunday morning fry-up and devour her sausages, bacon and black pudding with the enthusiasm of a hungry child. When did that lovely child become the obstinate, complaining teenager of today who preached her new beliefs to everyone and always seemed to hold the moral high ground?
In my first book, The Railway Carriage Child, I commented on my frustration when I asked for a blue toffee and was given one in a blue wrapper. Didn’t the grown-ups realise I meant the one that tasted blue?
It was many years later that I came across the term, Synesthesia, translating from Greek to mean ‘perceive together’. I read on with amazement. It was explained as an ability to experience a sensation in more than one way. It described people who could taste music or hear colours. Apparently it is to do with wiring in the brain and is found most often in those with artistic ability and increased intelligence. I loved it. But reading on, I learned that it was quite common in childhood but often petered out in adulthood…and I had to admit that I hadn’t tasted a blue toffee for years.
It did inspire me to think that it could make an appearance in the novel I am writing at the moment, Goodbye Bluebell. I have a character who is an artist. Perhaps he could also be a synesthete…what fun he could have painting all those musical notes and hearing the colours in his palette.
Next month I will take a look at the sense of TOUCH
‘synesthete’… it sounds vaguely disreputable.
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