A french a evokes polished ebony

“Vladimir Nabokov noticed that he associated certain letters with certain colors in childhood, when he told his mother that some of his alphabet blocks were the wrong color.  She saw nothing odd in this (possibly we are all creative in, and only in, those areas in which our mothers saw, at least to begin with, nothing odd), and when they compared notes, they found they agreed on some letters’ colors.

For Nabokov, “the long a of the english alphabet …has the tint of weathered wood, but a french a evokes polished ebony.”  Nabokov saw the letter u  as “brassy with an olive sheen… oatmean n, noodle-limp l, and the ivory-backed hand mirror of o take care of the whites…passing on to the blue group, there is steely x, thunderous z, and huckleberry k….in the green group, there are the alder-leaf f, the unripe apple of p, and pistachio t.”

–Roy Blount Jr.,  Alphabet Juice

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