JusJoJan Day 13: Dripping Dali Clocks of Time

Just Jottin’ my way through January!


Does the title phrase bring any pictures to your mind? I’ve been fascinated byThe Persistence of Memory” by Salvador Dali, since the first time I saw it, when I was a child.

It’s lived in the back of my mind, dripping and oozing into other parts of my life. It might have something to do with the way my life has evolved, and the way my family lives. We’re an unschooling family, and, most of the time, the only schedule in our lives is my Accomplice’s work schedule.

The children and I tend to sleep when we’re tired, wake when we’re rested, and pass our days as we’re inclined to. I have a Sunday night Write-In with my local NaNoWriMo group, and a Tuesday workout, but those aren’t strict commitments. Mostly, my life flows, something like a melting Dali clock.

Those dripping Dali clocks work their way into my writing, too. Recently, I penned these lines for a character who was attempting to meet a scheduled obligation immediately after ingesting two intoxicating substances that alter perceptions. I wanted to express this in imagery, and the Dali clocks came to the front of my mind, and I wove them into the text. As time becomes more liquid than solid in his mind…

Class. “I must go to class. In – ” But he didn’t know in how many minutes; the grandmother clock had merged with the tide, melted into it, become the tide. Long ago, T’Pol had shown him a Terran painting, by a man named Dali. Clocks dripped into the scenery; this was as that was. “I must go, my Thistle, and yet, I have no desire to do so.”

The Dali clocks have something in common with optical illusions, and, in this next segment, while Spock discusses his obvious lack of attention with his instructor, the effects of absinthe and sugar take on a new aspect, inspired by my son’s early fascination with the lovely Relativity” and mind-twisting bit of illusion art by M.C. Escher...

“Yes, ma’am.” There seemed little point in attempting to deny it. He was feeling decidedly altered, and the hall was becoming something akin to the Dali painting, or something else, that Mother had shown him long ago, a perception and perspective shifting drawing by an artist named Escher…

And later, when he returns to the safe shelter of his room and his lover, those Dali clocks ooze into the story again, claiming the grandmother clock in his mother’s home, and all sense of time’s passage…

And then, for a time beyond measure, as Mother’s clock dripped like a Dali painting into the tide, they were love together….they roused themselves, later, to perform the absinthe ritual.

I’m not sure if there’s a point to this jotting, except that, although we’re often told that life imitates art, sometimes art imitates art. And sometimes there are melting clocks with dripping numbers, and art and ‘rithmetic become one in the fertile ground of my mind, and that twists and oozes into the words I write…

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork? Why do you love it? Does it inspire your creativity? If so, how? Share your story below!

Drip on over to more Jottings!



  1. My favorite painting is “Aristide Bruant dans son Cabaret” by Toulouse-Lautrec. There are actually a couple of them; my favorite is the one with “AMBASSADEURS” written behind him. I can’t look at it without finding myself at Aristide’s cabaret in Montmartre (in my mind, anyway), absinthe spoon in on hand, an unfiltered Gaulioses in the other. I have never been to France, let alone Paris, can’t even speak French, and neither smoke nor drink anymore, but man… that would have been the life…

    • Very clean, compelling graphics. Je parle francais, mais suelment un tres petit peu – in other words, my high school and college French is just enough to get me into trouble.

      I’ve never to Paris, or France, but my best friend Eden has…a high school trip I couldn’t afford. I was deeply jealous!

      Funny you’d mention absinthe spoons – they ended up playing an unexpectedly large role in my NaNo last November. I seldom drink, and cigarettes make me gag.
      Fennel and anise are not spices I remotely enjoy…and yet, I have to admit that I see the allure…

      So glad you took the time to share, because you’ve once again widened my horizons – and possibly given me a cover concept for the eventual novel…

    • Oh! Those are all very evocative! I’m not a fan of flying, either, at all. But I will be doing it, next month, cross country. It will be the kids’ first time. One is really excited; one is quite nervous….

      We’ll see how it goes!

      • Oh, I hope you will have the time of your life :-). No matter the fear I found it exciting to see the world from above. But more than two hours would not do it I suspect :-).

    • It’s fun to share the art I love. And I found out that I can see Persistence of Memory and Van Gogh’s Starry Night, my absolute favorite, at MoMA, which is a day trip I’ve wanted to make for a long time now…and that’s just added incentive! =D

      Hope you enjoy the videos when you come back!

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