In answer to a question posed by Padgett Powell in his book of many questions

the-god-tyr“If you could assign colors to the days of the week, what color would you assign Tuesday?”

This is an odd question. It implies that you – anyone – have a choice in Tuesday’s color, when in fact you don’t. At least, in your world you don’t.

Tuesday comes with its own color, as do all the days of the week.  Tuesday is a muted mustard-dun, solid color, no pattern. There’s a smooth feel to the color of Tuesday, like old chamois.

Wednesday? A clear blue. Slightly darker than robin’s egg, but on the bright light spectrum of blue. No navy, no dark. Another smooth-textured day.

Thursday is dark, similar to the ocean on a cloudy day. It’s a changeable color within that narrow realm. It can shift from dark gray to forest green, and there’s sometimes a dark honeycomb lace pattern within those dark shades. There can also be a bar of metal in Thursday, a rounded bar that occasionally emerges from within the dark, silent colors. Thursday is a beautiful day. It’s your favorite day of the week.

Friday is a patterned green, a mix of greens: the green of maple leaves in mid-summer and also the green of those leaves when darkened by rain. The pattern that shifts on the surface of Friday is the same sort of leafy light that plays across your skin when you’re lying in your treehouse. Friday is shades of green with shadows.

Saturday is gray-blue, light and porous, especially Saturday mornings. As the day wears on, Saturday darkens in shade but never solidifies; it is a day that retains its foaminess.

Sunday? Yellow, of course, although a yellow that doesn’t take its shade from the sun of its namesake. Sunday is an unchanging shade, a buttery yellow but a shade less dense than implied by the word ‘buttery.’ Sunday is an evaporating sort of day and so is its color.

Monday is dark gray but see-through. Monday is a color like looking through a fine-mesh screen window. Monday is an early color day and it stays dark screen gray until midnight, when it turns into Tuesday, and the chamois mustard-dun returns.

These are the way the days of the week appear to you. They’ve appeared this way all your life, each with its own color and texture and solid or diffuse light and patterns. You never thought about it before, but had you thought about it, you would have assumed that everyone lived their days out with the same sense of color and texture.

Now Mr. Powell is making you re-think that assumption. Is it false? Have you been laboring under a delusion of universal days-of-the-week color your whole life long? Are you, in reality, alone in your life of colored days? How long will you consider these questions? Until you go to bed and wake into the ordained color of a new day?


  1. Zhoen · November 3, 2009



  2. alison · November 3, 2009

    I didn’t know this word and just looked it up. Good heavens! Everyone’s voice has a certain color, to me, as does music and every word. Is this not typical? Don’t all sounds come with colors attached?


  3. Zhoen · November 4, 2009

    Sadly, no.


  4. alicia · November 4, 2009

    ah, that is fantastic. i see colors with words too, but i’ve lost so much of it as i’ve gotten older. i could taste words when i was younger. i had an entire notebook of words that tasted like bubble gum.


  5. oreo · November 4, 2009

    Do your children’s voices have the same color as the moment you laid eyes on them, or does the color change over time? How about the voice of one once loved but no longer? Do you see your grandmother speaking in colors in your memory? A synesthete indeed you are (I looked it up too).


  6. Pepper · November 5, 2009

    Well! While I agree on some of those days, you are way off on Thursday. Now, how about Numbers? Or the comment I made to my mother, at a very early age, (could just see over the windowsill), about the color of the sound of the sunset? Hah!


  7. alison · November 15, 2009

    alicia, an entire notebook of bubble gum-tasting words? how i love this. what kind of bubble gum? bazooka joe, perhaps?

    oreo, the color changes over time. my grandmother – i’m closing my eyes and hearing her voice now – it is the same as when she was alive.

    pepper: you’ve got me beat.


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