Its Orange Glow” — Colours of Life

Colours of Life collage featuring Orange glow

The colours of life are many and varied, this is something we learn as we travel the journey. If you have followed on Facebook me over the past few months you will be aware that I have been busy renew­ing this old house of ours. Putting that final coat onto our bedroom walls, gave me a great working title for a new article, “its orange glow”. Spending much of that time think­ing also gave me some of the content.

 

Struggles of Life

What colour is the bedroom wall? It has been all sorts of colours over the past week, but that also reminds me of the struggles of life. Perhaps best described as the varying colours of life.

You have an idea how you wish something to look. In this case it was a colour to reflect the morning sunshine, as it streamed into one of the two windows. Representing one of the colours of life for us. One of the windows faces east so catches the earli­est morning rays of the sun both in the winter and summer. The other faces south, so it catches the morning sunshine only in winter, but the rest of the year catches the sun all the way till late evening.

A touch of colour by Green StreetBefore paint­ing I had spent many days repair­ing parts of the wall, sanding down the patches left when the insula­tion workers filled it, repair­ing blemishes etc. Before paint­ing I thought it would be a good idea to sand it all down to aid paint absorp­tion, leaving a thick layer of dust over everything. The rate of absorp­tion can, at times, be something of a struggle. It could be described as a part of the colours of life. I knew this from one of the earli­er walls I had worked on. Despite all the prepar­a­tion the paint on that earli­er wall absorbed into a cracked eggshell style, blobs of perfect colour, with a jagged edge around each. Approximately 1 cm square leaving the colour of the bare wall shining through.

This time it was differ­ent. The orange glow colour reacted with the earli­er light green shade to turn a very odd shade. This had little to do the inten­ded colour. It was uniform across the walls, except in the areas where I had completed some work, filled holes etc. These areas turned the perfect colour. I needed an extra pot of paint and more layers to finish the job. Now it is perfect. Just as inten­ded. The right colours of life.

 

Thoughts While Painting

Nobody said writing was simple. In fact the challenges of putting pen to paper reflect the challenges that every­one faces in life. I am not talking here about writer’s block, there is always plenty to write about. You sit and write a sentence intend­ing to craft something profound. Yet when complete it remains plain and simple, moder­ately inspir­ing. Part of the problem is word choice, or perhaps how to tell the story, or where to begin.

Life has many shades of colour, yet in writing we use a black-on-white medium to repres­ent what can received through a multi­tude of senses. Do you remem­ber that pictur­esque village you once visited? As you look out from the village green across the square you receive a multi­tude of sensu­al inputs. Each of these helps you enjoy your time here, wheth­er you have stopped for a moment or a lifetime. How do you turn those colours, sounds, smells into a memory?

Colours of Life - BowlerThe human mind will store them all in such a way that we can always recall them.

I remem­ber the English village where we lunched at the pub next to the village green. Opposite fifteen men, dressed in white, played crick­et. The green was immacu­lately kept with grass the perfect length. Then there was the flash of a bat, a shout, a decision, clapping, and a sixteenth man walked onto the field. The batsman had poorly angled the ball towards mid-off and caught out, causing the moment­ary commo­tion. As the oncom­ing batsman passed the one leaving the field it was clear that a warning or instruc­tion passed between the men. It was at that moment that our lunch arrived, bring­ing with it wonder­ful smells the assault the nose. “Ah! Just what we needed.” Was the thought expressed.

 

Colours of Life

The beauty of relay­ing a memory is that many people will have simil­ar memor­ies. Readers will to some extent fill in the blanks from their own memor­ies. The descrip­tion can be as precise as we wish it, or left loose, allow­ing the reader to link their own exper­i­ences to the story. If you have never seen an English village green you may have some knowledge (from films or TV) to fill in the gaps. If you know nothing about the game of crick­et then you know just about the same as half of England. For this story all that is relev­ant is that there are two teams playing and both clad in white, the umpires wore white coats. Knowing nothing about crick­et does not dimin­ish the value of the story. The crick­et match simply aids the picture.

As we moved into the era of the computer I have long wondered about the value that colour would bring the written word. I discussed this with an early piece on this blog.

Hyperlinks on pages have colour, sometimes page titles (or sub-titles) may also be coloured, but it is rare that we use colour in normal written text. There are of course some challenges, such as those that exper­i­ence red-green colour-blindness. Perhaps emotions could be conveyed through colour, e.g. this plum, or violet, colour could be used to repres­ent anger. Possibly this blue could be used to show calm. Yet we would have to agree on a stand­ard to adopt. One area I think it could help is with charac­ters talking in novels, especially where there are sever­al pages worth of discus­sion between two people.

Some educat­ors use colour to help children under­stand the parts of speech. An idea I do applaud — imagin­at­ive use of new techno­logy.

 

Moment of Clarity

Written down by Green StreetAs I painted there was a moment when the dry wall started to resemble the desired colour. There were some shadows showing, but the final coat was near. I may have had to buy an extra can of paint but the end result was now in sight. That is so with writing. Once commit­ted to, the project must be finished.

How would we change the colour of writing? Writing can be colour­ful, yet remain black on white. Through early VDU screens we tried green on black and amber on black but I think most people will recall how unsat­is­fact­ory those techno­lo­gies were. People love colour. There is no mistak­ing that fact. The challenge with print­ing a book in colour is one of cost. Readers do not wish to pay more for their reading mater­i­al. Yet with blogs and e-books there is no addition­al cost in using colour, just the will (or desire) to use it.

For now, I see colour as a device to give clarity. Nothing more. I do encour­age the use of colour. In some respects the colour of the language can be associ­ated with our upbring­ing, perhaps where we were born. An Englishman may use differ­ent tones than an American, but we still use the same language to convey our ideas. That is import­ant, even when there are minor differ­ences. What are the colours of life for you? Do you embed them in your writing?

 

Other Related Material

Another colour­ful step. Just as I had finished writing. After complet­ing the first edit. The inter­net connec­tion crashed. Talk about writing lessons from life…

You may find the follow­ing mater­i­al useful:

 

 

 

Buy Peter B. Giblett a coffee as thanks for discuss­ing the colours of life and how it impacts your writing. Please add your thoughts. Images included here are from royalty free public domain image collec­tions, like Pixabay.

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