Monday, March 07, 2005

Numbers and Colors and Days

I got a really lovely response to Why I Hate 8 by someone named Joanna who related my number/color system to her childhood conception of time:
When I was very little, I visualized life as being a timeline set in bold
numbers. What came before and what came after were in faded numbers, but were
still there--like a tape. I remember when I was four and my great-aunt died,
thinking that she would start cycling through the faded numbers and come back
into the bold ones and have another life. Don't know where this idea came
from--my parents were Catholic and Presbyterian--neither faith known for belief
in reincarnation.

This makes a lot of sense to me; in fact, I still see time kind of like this, as a timeline fading in and out. I've tried to explain this many times (even written a spectacularly unsuccessful poem about this, fueled by the dreariness of the job market). Mostly I end up just flailing my arms and twisting my body sideways as I try to explain that I see time moving along a diagonal that intersects my body. It comes from over my right shoulder and juts out to the left. This is how I visualize months (which are also colored, but that's absolutely derived from elementary school bulletin board displays). Weeks go from right to left, looping back so that Saturday becomes the beginning of Sunday. Kind of like a Yeatsian gyre. Hours moves from my feet to the top of my head.

But back to months and the timeline. From where I'm standing in greenish-purple March I can see the yellow and white daisies of June to my left, about 24 feet away.


Blogger Sfrajett said...

I love the lyrical part about the white daisies of June 24 feet away. You made me think about how months look to me. I see them coming into view like a sign on the highway, lurching up into view in my windshield. So May is just a dot on the horizon, whereas April I can read like the sign that tells you the name of the town you are about to drive through. I also realize that mostly I think about geography, about being in Chicago. It's like lying face down on a green lawn shaped like the US, with my body covering the midwest, say, my nose is in Chicago and my feet reach down through Tennessee. I reach my arms out to either side, towards California and New England. I don't think so my about my westward-reaching left hand, but my right hand only reaches part-way home, about as far as Ohio. Thanks for this. JH

12:43 PM  

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