Monday, January 25, 2016

What color was it?



The State of the Union—it might be crazy out there and dang cold, but Michelle was HOT in her sleeveless Narciso Rodriguez dress. BUT here is the question: What color was it?

wearing a marigold dress
I’ve been reading Mark Doty’s The Art of Description, a small book on craft, where he discusses color and the sensations it evokes. One could have said Michelle wore orange. No, that’s not it. We sat around the living room for the next ten minutes dissecting the color. Was it mustard, pumpkin, tangerine, coral—not so says the Washington Post. I guessed saffron, a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”, usually known for how much it costs. It is sold by the gram just like cocaine. A thread or two is enough to enhance any meal. Why wouldn’t Michelle be wearing saffron?

Within 20 minutes it was sold out.

When writing I have at my fingertips the world wide web to bring up a palate of colors, but sometimes it is a word I’m looking for, a feeling that is attached to a particular color. It is not enough to star at a swatch of blue or a Pantone color wheel. There is something hidden in the back of my mind that needs to be fleshed/flushed out. It is all tied up with memory.

Is that dingy water rusty or the color of apple cider? Is that flash of red in the trees cardinal or taillight red? We bring a past and perspective into all our choices when it comes to description.

Back to the living room, Steve argued it was sunflower, some said it was mango, some said it was mac’n’cheese. Whatever. If this is the most controversy stirred up the whole evening—it was worth it just to watch.

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