Sunday, August 2, 2009


for ZB

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.
-Marge Piercy

There is a certain shade of yellow, somewhere in between school bus and traffic sign that makes my heart fill with possibility. There are also shades of orange, blue, and green that bring on similar emotions, each slightly different, each changing with the subtleties of shade and saturation. Sometimes, just the sight of my perfect red pencil, once belonging to one Mr. Bill Allen, is enough to calm all the nervous jitters with which I occupy an obscene amount of my time. There is also the avocado green of our well-loved Tupperware, the snowy white of our coverlet, that certain carrot colored crayon orange on the handle of a pair of scissors, the heavily faded navy of my grandmother's pajamas that I still wear to bed.

What I'm trying to get at, I think, is something beyond color, beyond a list of numbers and calculations on a chart that combine just the right levels of this and that to create what we can then name elaborately to be: daffodil, pumpernickel, or sage. What I'm talking about when I say yellow, is the nostalgia of the perfect over medium egg not appreciated until one is much, much older, the scratched paint on an old metal lamp a thoughtful husband installs after work, the familiar dotting on the road taking you home. This kind of color, historical, personal, color, is at the center of almost everything I do. I like to think, although it's typed in the technical black, I write in color. I like to think that the possibility of that new old box of crayons I rescued from the bottom of the bin at the thrift store comes through every time I touch my pencil or pen to the page; I like to think I power this keyboard with the click-clack of energy that comes from the perfectly pea green plastic file case that holds my bits of found paper and the scraps of my jottings.

What I've noticed lately about all the bits and bobbles I collect and bring home to arrange and rearrange, is that each item is bursting with color, and each color does more than just compliment the one next to it; one color converses with another. And if these colors are more than just the pigments my eyes and mind recognize, if they are tiny histories packaged in the tomato red spine of a classic book or the grainy brown wood of family built furniture, the pieces I choose to surround myself with are telling a constantly evolving story of which I am a part.

It's that story I want most to articulate on the page, to offer to a friend, to perpetuate beyond these walls. Because that story, those histories, the nostalgia found on a box of waxy, paper bound sticks, it's the most accurate way I know to say - 'Here. This is what you mean to me' because orange is never just orange, it is the morning juice, salad topper, traffic cone, no red popsicles left, Elmer's glue topped example of a life lived. It is what I cannot always say in words, but will always try, and it is the most hopeful display of purpose that I know.


TA Z. said...

A beautiful post, my dear. it is radiant and colorful and you.

Meghan said...




I just linked to you in my latest blog post.

Jessica said...

I love this.

I don't even know what else to say.

your friend said...

i love this so much i wanted to cry a little.

Sharon said...

I love this too. I love color as much as you do, but I don't have the words in me to phrase it as you have so beautifully here. Now, I'm going to read more of your blog. Thank you for brightening my day.