It seems my journalism career has come full circle—I went from culture editor to police reporter back to culture editor; or arts and literature editor, as it were.
As far as cognitive peculiarities go, synesthesia seems pretty sweet. Instead of just hearing sounds, the brain translates the aural with another sense function, say vision or taste. What is for one person an F sharp can, for the synesthete, be a green- or raspberry-hued note.
Even if you've never read Moby-Dick, there are probably a few things you already know about the story simply by existing in modern American culture. For one, there's some guy named Ishmael. And there’s a crazy, one-legged captain called Ahab, who's made it his life's purpose to chase down and harpoon the titular, massive white sperm whale that bit off his limb. Like most classic tales, it doesn't end well.