For Heather, who asked: Time, the clock

So I’ve discussed my letters and numbers and their colours and locations, because they’ve always been with me. So have my units of time, but they’re more subliminal, perhaps because units of time are more abstract than letters and numbers.

So there’s my clock. Now this is quite obviously influenced by the clock face. My days divide themselves into hours that arrange themselves in space just as they do on a clock face, with 12 o’clock at the top and 6 o’clock at the bottom. Only they’re arranged in three dimensions, not two, and they climb and descend steps (sort of) just as all numbers do. Instead of turning around at right angles every ten numbers, however, they move in a circle as they are aon a clock. But there are bits that aren’t influenced so much by the clock face, and that’s the colours, or the light and shadows that go along with the hours. Funnily enough, my hours, when they’re units of time, don’t use the number-colours that the numbers do, even though they reflect them sometimes. For instance, a number like seven resonates with yellow-gold colours, and the hour maintains those colours, except it’s more bronze. That’s because the number 7 is yellow-gold, and the E in the word seven is yellow, and the colour’s reinforced in a way that it isn’t with other number-letter combinations.

On the clock, 12 noon is clear, bright, high up there at the very top of the circle. 12 midnight is dark — not coincidentally a rich midnight blue. Six in the morning is a grey, silvery colour that goes along with the colour of the number six, only the hour stands more in the light and shimmers more than the number does, which is moving into the shadow. Six in the evening is more in the shadow, but it’s not the same colour as the number six (which is a silvery grey). It’s a darkish grey, and matte. Seven in the morning’s a bright, clearish yellow, eight is brighter, and nine is brilliant, ten and eleven are hot-bright, with ten a little more contrasty than eleven. As I said, noon is clear. One is as bright as eleven, but the light is different, staler, flatter, harsher, not clear and brilliant. Two is full of contrast, like ten, but again, the light is different, stale, harsh. Three is getting orangey, the kind of gold that suggests the sun’s going down. Four is reddish orange, with a lean that suggests afternoon shadows. Five is not so bright, but it’s still in the light.

Seven in the evening is bronze. Eight is bright, but it stands out, and casts a shadow. Nine is a warm goldy-brown, and ten is close to black. Eleven’s shadowy and dark grey. One in the morning continues the midnight blue theme started by midnight, only it’s darker and stronger, less beautiful than midnight, and two is a hollow dark. Three a.m. isn’t black, but I can’t describe what it is so let’s say it’s black, just for argument. Four a.m. is a dead, dark colour, flat matte. Five is greyish and glowing from behind, like the sky does just before sunrise.

(All this I’ve articulated for the very first time, and I’m amazed that I can be so detailed! But this is how I see time.)

Needless to say, the digital revolution screwed me right up. It took years before I could tell time by the numbers on a clock face.


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