Words delight me. I like the sound of them when I read them. I like manipulating them to roll off your tongue. I like playing with parallel language, alliteration and syllable count.
Yesterday, my mom heard an interview on CBC radio and texted me to tune in. It wasn’t long before I had found another lover of words, Daniel Tammet. But as I listened, I became more and more intrigued. This man spoke of words in a way I had never heard before: words as numbers, images, shapes, colours and emotions.
Daniel is a high-functioning autistic savant.
After listening to the interview, I went out and bought his book: Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing. I just finished watching a documentary about him entitled The Boy With the Incredible Brain. The more I have watched and read about him, and by him, the more fascinated I am. He experiences the world – nature, numbers, words – unlike the vast majority of us.
He says this, “Words have been knots of beauty and mystery as long as I can remember.”
Although I cannot experience words as he does, I share his love for them. And, I will never again look at a word in quite the same way.