Currently viewing the tag: "time"

Although they did not fix their schedules to the clock in the modern sense, ancient civilizations adjusted daily schedules to the sun more flexibly than DST does, often dividing daylight into twelve hours regardless of daytime, so that each daylight hour was longer during summer. For example, the Romans kept time with water clocks that had different scales for different months of the year: at Rome’s latitude the third hour from sunrise, hora tertia, started by modern standards at 09:02 solar time and lasted 44 minutes at the winter solstice, but at the summer solstice it started at 06:58 and lasted 75 minutes. After ancient times, equal-length civil hours eventually supplanted unequal, so civil time no longer varies by season. Unequal hours are still used in a few traditional settings, such as some monasteries of Mount Athos and all Jewish ceremonies. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in a location where the time changes all the time and from one city to another.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about daylight savings time?

Art Prompt: Time

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of daylight savings time.

Photo Credit: Juan Llanos on Flickr


From very early times, the Mesopotamian lunisolar calendar was in wide use by the countries of the western Asia region. The structure, which was also used by the Israelites, was based on lunar months with the intercalation of an additional month to bring the cycle closer to the solar cycle, although there is no evidence of a thirteenth month mentioned anywhere in the Hebrew Bible.

Num 10:10 stresses the importance in Israelite religious observance of the new month (Hebrew: ראש חודש, Rosh Chodesh, “beginning of the month”): “… in your new moons, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt-offerings…” Similarly in Num 28:11. “The beginning of the month” meant the appearance of a new moon, and in Exod 12:2. “This month is to you”

According to the Mishnah and Tosefta, in the Maccabean, Herodian, and Mishnaic periods, new months were determined by the sighting of a new crescent, with two eyewitnesses required to testify to the Sanhedrin to having seen the new lunar crescent at sunset. The practice in the time of Gamaliel II (c. 100 CE) was for witnesses to select the appearance of the moon from a collection of drawings that depicted the crescent in a variety of orientations, only a few of which could be valid in any given month. These observations were compared against calculations.

At first the beginning of each Jewish month was signaled to the communities of Israel and beyond by fires lit on mountaintops, but after the Samaritans began to light false fires, messengers were sent. The inability of the messengers to reach communities outside Israel before mid-month High Holy Days (Succot and Passover) led outlying communities to celebrate scriptural festivals for two days rather than one, observing the second feast-day of the Jewish diaspora because of uncertainty of whether the previous month ended after 29 or 30 days. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: How is time measured in the world you have created? OR How does your character feel about time?

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about time?

Art Prompt: Lunar Calendar

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how the way we measure time has evolved throughout history.

Birthday Cake

It seemed like just yesterday I celebrated my seventh birthday. –Louisa by Richard Emmel

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: How does the passage of time seem to you? Does it seem to go fast or slow?

Art Prompt: The passage of time

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about how time slips away.

Photo Credit: Will Clayton on Flickr


There was an era in history, American history, during which every locality had its own time. People who didn’t have access to satellite systems or even, necessarily, telegraphs, waited until the sun was directly overhead and set their clocks to noon. No one cared if their town clock was a few minutes off. And no one cared if the next town over had their noon at a slightly different time.
Even if someone galloped over on a horse, the time difference was minimal. If people made longer trips, they were more concerned with getting there alive (as anyone who has played Oregon Trail knows) than worrying about the difference in local time. After several weeks of walking barefoot across the plains hoping your oxen doesn’t throw a shoe and strand you all in a wintery path where you will eat each other, it doesn’t matter if noon is suddenly later when you get to Kansas. Odds were, there was nothing in Kansas (or almost any other state) that you needed to be exactly on time for anyway. –Esther Ingliss-Arkell

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which a small time difference creates a problem.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about being on time? Is it important to you? Why or why not? How do you feel about people who are never on time?

Art Prompt: Local time

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a story about an incident in which time played an important role.

Photo Credit: Catherine Mommsen Scott on Flickr

Persistence of Chromatic Memory

Life here happened whenever people got around to it. On the —ish clock. -D.D. Scott, Bootscootin’ Blahniks

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in ish time.

Journaling Prompt: What is your relationship with time? How do you feel about people who are perpetually late? 

Art Prompt: Ish O’Clock

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience how to change their relationship with time.

Photo Credit: garlandcannon on Flickr

Hammock o'clock.

‘I’d like to create a clock that measures time in the same way people do. So it would speed up for boring things like school or work but give you long weekends and stretch the moments between sleeping and waking so you can have longer in bed. A biorhythmic clock.’ -Helen Smith, Alison Wonderland

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone who has a biorhythmic clock. What kind of complications does it create?

Journaling Prompt: What would your special clock speed up and slow down for?

Art Prompt: Biorhythmic clock

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: If you had power over time, what kind of clock would you create?

Photo Credit: Jaako on Flickr

…in general, people are more likely to lie when time is short. When time isn’t a concern, people may only lie when they have justifications for doing so.
“One implication of the current findings is that to increase the likelihood of honest behavior in business or personal settings, it is important not push a person into a corner but rather to give him or her time,” explains Shalvi. “People usually know it is wrong to lie, they just need time to do the right thing.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Put your protagonist into a situation where the time pressure forces him or her to lie.

Journaling Prompt: Do you tell the truth under pressure, or do you feel justified in lying.

Art Prompt: Liar

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the conditions under which honest people will lie and how employers can encourage and reward honesty.

Photo Credit: Z S on Flickr
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Acetylferrocene crystals

In February 2012, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek decided to go public with a strange and, he worried, somewhat embarrassing idea. Impossible as it seemed, Wilczek had developed an apparent proof of “time crystals” — physical structures that move in a repeating pattern, like minute hands rounding clocks, without expending energy or ever winding down. Unlike clocks or any other known objects, time crystals derive their movement not from stored energy but from a break in the symmetry of time, enabling a special form of perpetual motion. –Natalie Wolchover

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem inspired by the perpetual motion of Frank Wilczek’s time crystals.

Journaling Prompt: If you could harness perpetual motion to do one task in your life, how would you use it and why?

Art Prompt: Time Crystals

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about this or another new and inspiring scientific discovery and how you believe it could change our world.

Wind Beneath My Wing

Whenever Hwang goes to sleep, he jumps forward in time. This is a problem. This is not a problem that is going to solve itself. Sometimes Hwang wakes to find that he’s only jumped forward a few days. The most Hwang has ever jumped is one hundred seventy years. -Alice Sola Kim, Hwang’s Billion Brilliant Daughters (free to read at Lightspeed Magazine online)

Writing Prompt: Write a scene where one of your characters wakes up in the morning 100 years in the future.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you felt like everything you knew was suddenly changed. How did you deal with it?

Art Prompt: Time Travel

Photo Credit: lissalou66 on Flickr


It was commonly held in all the ancient magical books that there were four elements of magic: Air and Water, Earth and Fire. But centuries of study had revealed to Nicholas that there were, in fact, five elemental forces of magic. The fifth force was the magic of Time, the greatest of all magics. -Michael Scott, The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)

Writing Prompt: Create a scene in which time functions as an element of magic for your character.

Journaling Prompt: How has time worked magic in your life?

Art Prompt: Time

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about the magic of time.
Photo Credit: gadl on Flickr