In this extract from the Walking With Writers podcast Alana (Lani) Bosgra talks about how she interprets the world through synaesthesia, the support of belonging, and the compulsion to create.
“My aim is to create what I can’t see.”
“It’s the people around you that let you know that you are someone valuable, whether that’s your family or whether that’s another support network you have, I think that’s really important in belonging.
It’s very complex though because the issues that make people feel like they belong or not, there are a lot of issues at stake there. There are a lot of reasons why someone may or may not feel like an outsider.
In my experiences [being an outsider] is a luxury: that I get to sit at a cafe and feel anonymous and feel like an artist. I think that’s a luxury I’m afforded because I know I do have good family support. Whereas if I were struggling more with the fundamental part of belonging, I don’t know that I would have that luxury.”
“I actually like how the words look on the page, because I’m visual, so I like really pretty-looking words which is probably a bit shallow, but words that I don’t know if they even sound that nice, but if they look beautiful on paper I’m happy to string them together and try to make some sort of poetry from them.
I like certain letters. I’m drawn to the look of the letter ‘a’ for example and words like graceful because it sounds nice as well and I think it looks beautiful. That’s probably a weird thing to say. Graceful just sounds so soft and beautiful. There are some words that are horrendous, like strychnine. That’s just a terrible sounding word.
It’s the beauty of the words and the letters themselves that I’m really drawn to, if that makes any sense. I don’t know if you’ve heard of synaesthesia, but words actually have colours so I see the words actually in colours and the letters themselves all have an assigned colour. They don’t change. So maybe part of the writing process is that for me as well. So ‘a’ is always red; in 50 years it’s still going to be red. L is this beautiful lilac purple. And days of the week? Saturday is always this white, silvery white. I don’t associate music with images or anything, it’s just the words: months are all different colours, days of the week, and then numbers as well.
March is this weird mix between a purpley-red, like a really nice dark rich purple. May is a really nice baby light pink, a nice pastel pink. November is a really metallic silver. I see November as robotic for some reason. November is a very robotic word, like clunky machinery.”
“I see art as a tool to get a conversation going that is bigger than art.”