Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Counting on You

I like words. They're easy to me, they come naturally and I can easily remember words, since they're related to concepts and emotions which makes them more memorable and therefore accessible in the human brain. In language there's freedom of expression and movement, you can say whatever you want and express yourself in a myriad of ways, with the only stipulation that you need to be understood.
However, I don't like numbers. There's no poetry in a number, there's no feeling, it feels so clinical and hygienic and I find it impossible to remember numbers because there's nothing but a single figure, no lee-way. In mathematics there is a single answer (or very few) and if you don't know it you're wrong, the only stipulation in maths being that you must remember the rules of the equation.

There's nothing wrong with mathematics and numbers, and if you use or appreciate them yourself then you're welcome to, but I don't like them. Part of this has to do with the association of always failing Maths in school, but moreso it's because I can never remember numbers. I can't tell you exactly why, but I do think it's the emotion or feeling involved since I can remember something qualitatively, rather than quantitatively.

However, as much as I dislike numbers, I can't say that I never use them. It's just that, when I do, I have to put a bit of that emotion, that poetry and that life back into the numbers I use. The Word of the Day is: 'NUMEROLOGY'.

Numerology /nyūmə'roləjee/ n. 1. The study of numbers (especially one's birth year, etc.) supposedly to determine their influence on one's life and future. 2. The purported mystical relationship between numbers and the character or action of physical objects and living things.

Right off the bat, numerology is bullshit. Along with Atronomy, Religion & Homeopathy, it's one of those realms of study that exist because we're too scared to accept that the world is difficult to understand. So, rather than accept that, we pretend there exists some cheat-sheet by which we should live our lives to get the most out of it.
But I felt it was appropriate for today's word because today I want to talk about adding meaning to numbers where no such meaning exists. Because while I hate Mathematics, it would be foolish to completely abandon numbers in my life, so I find new ways to look at numbers so as to better my relationship with them.

Let's start with my favourite number: 27. Why is it my favourite?
Mostly because it seems the most like me.  Let me make some sense of that, because it's kind of weird . . .
Firstly, twenty-seven is represented by two numbers, two and seven.
I like two because it's unique. It's the only number with a straight line and a curved line. The other numbers 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 & 9 are made up of all curved or all straight lines, so 2 has more variety, visually speaking. [The number five (5) is also made up of a curved and two straight lines, but it feels too official for me. Just look at its multiples: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etcetara. Too orderly for me.] Also, 2 is the only Prime Number that is also Even, a perfectly unique number.
As for 7, it's the only single-digit number that has two syllables, but to me it also looks so stern; short, sharp straight lines and an acute angle. It looks like a number that doesn't take any nonsense. Depending on how you draw it, it too can have one straight line and one curved, and it's also the only number (that I know of) which can be written in two ways: 7 or  7

Now, you may be wondering, why 27, but not 72?
Firstly, because 72 is too big. Big numbers seem too self-important to me. They've got so many digits, I prefer the smaller numbers, the much more intimate, diminutive numbers.
Also, as a bit of beautiful symmetry, 27 is equal to "three multiplied by three, multiplied by three". Three threes, which can also be written:
It's a thing of beauty . . .

Now, I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that you're sittign there right now with a confused look on your face thinking "What the hell is he talking about?"
Simply put, this is just a form of natural ideasthesia. In my head, I'm mixing up emotion with sight, sound with concept and that kind of thing.
But the way I think of it, it's not so much confusion as an attempt to find meaning in numbers. They are mere quantities, a numerical value, so I associate with those values other qualities. I don't know why I do this, I guess it's because I don't understand numbers, so I use my own methods to understand them in a different way.

It's not the most practical use of numbers, but I find that these "additional values" of certain numbers helps me in my writing.
In fiction, I've used numbers in all manner of ways, particularly within Duke Forever. I'd point them all out to you, but I fear that would defeat the point. All that I will tell you is that the first story was also the 72nd post of this blog and I've been writing them every eight posts since then.

I also like to use numbers and dates for my regular "Word of the Day" blog posts. Mother's Day, Christmas & the Mayan Apocalypse . . . I've used them all to inspire or structure posts in the past. For the entire month of April, inspired by April Fool's Day, I dedicated the month to Parody.
So, I like a bit of numerological play. Which is why, recently, I've been getting concerned with my number of posts. If you've got your calculators at the ready, you may have noticed that I am slowly approaching my 100th Blog Post.
The reason I became concerned is partially because I realized that my 100th Post will coincide with October . . . and I've got something special planned for October as well as the numbers 18 and 13. But even more than that, I am not really sure what I'm going to do for my 100th post. I've got some ideas, but they're few and far between. I'm sure I'll come up with something (after all, I usually do), but if you've got some suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

This is why I'm talking about Numerology today. Because I've been orchestrating a plan to make all of these numbers coincide with a beautiful symmetry. They work together without any fights or name-calling, and I've even managed to plan out Duke Forever so that it doesn't hog all of the limelight. But in all my efforts trying to make all the numbers line up, I've forgotten all about the words for something as important to me as a 100-post milestone.
I was even considering leaving it as a Reader's Choice. You decide and I'll write. I've decided against that since I can't exactly rely on audience participation (I learned that the hard way), so if you've got something in particular that you'd like from me and this blog for the upcoming hundredth post, please, oh please leave me a comment; send me an e-mail or comment on my Google+ page or in some way contact me. Otherwise, I'll just try to figure out something else on my own . . .

That's all from me for now. Until next time I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, counting down the seconds . . .


  1. Replies
    1. Then you're going to love what I've got planned for October.


Feel free to make suggestions, ask questions & comment . . .
I would love to read your words.