tagHow ToWrite Your Head Around This Pt. 02

Write Your Head Around This Pt. 02



In the last article I explained the phenomenon of the human senses and how they trigger memory and feelings, and the power of association. There was also a word on the neurological phenomenon Synaesthesia, which formed the basis for these creativity exercises.

This article talks about colour and how it affects us on a sensory, instinctual, intuitional, and emotional level, and how the power of association with colours can help to unlock creativity.



What's your favourite colour?

Is it just me that hates this question with a passion?

God knows how many quizzes I've taken that ask this lame question, and at the most basic they don't even give you the full light spectrum. The "favourite colour" question to me these days might as well be the 21st century equivalent of "what's your star sign!"

In the grand scheme of things, every colour has a place, a belonging (and therefore a perfect companion), seemingly something it was meant for that leaves the viewer with a sense of longing. It can be the dominant colour of a picturesque scenery, or the colour of a food you enjoy, or an item of clothing, or something else entirely like a toy, an antique, a precious rock, or a car.

Take an immediate look around at your life, in which everything seems to have its own code in keeping with your personality. Chances are that your personal life isn't monochrome. I'm going to take a guess that you're not the mental blonde for whom every single thing in her home must be that same one shade of inanity-triggering pink. That shit spells "serial killer at large" to me.

So I take a quick look around me at the room I'm in. The walls are a mild, cool marine blue-green hue, two-toned against a white ceiling. The furniture is the darkest brown antique wood. Altogether my surroundings are making me think of classic green mint chocolate chip ice cream. Oddly enough I'm eating After Eight dinner mints right now. This is the most harmonious my life has been since I had a weekly wage and a weekend to spend it on.

Don't cry for me unless they're tears of joy, or hysteria. I'm in a happy place!

The beauty of eye sight and the ability to see colour is the ability not only to call things as they are, but also to call things as we see them and feel them, by the power of association. We take not only basic intelligence from what we see, but we also employ memory, instinct, intuition, and emotion.

I truly cannot imagine a life without colour. A half-life, maybe; stripped of joy just as the world appears every winter, when even the sun is bled icy silver!

But by god how beautiful this life can be, even by the purest colours of the spectrum. The deep indigo of a darkening cloudless sky, or the vivid green of the sun through the leaves of a tree after a storm in summer. The red of a bleeding sun on the winter solstice, or the sticky gleaming violet of blueberry jam, baking a pudding to welcome the autumn chill.

If you have a lust for life, then you have light in your soul, and it is by that light that your gift of sight is blessed with these vivid colours.



You say baby blue, I say sky blue. Well, both associations belong to the same shade of blue, at least at a certain time of day!

One colour I don't like is yellow, but only when it's artificial. In my mind it tells me something's wrong. Warning signs are yellow, so is my piss (again, at a certain time of day), but I love sweet-corn, sunshine, and a well-kept garden in springtime bloom.

All colour is subject to perception, and individual perception helps to create our perceptive reality of the objective reality that stands before us wherever we happen to be. And in some instances, because of our associations with certain colours, to find them running rampant at times can strike us as decadent, extravagant, garish, or even violent.

On the other hand, life can seem so dull, drab, jaded, and joyless, where the colours are too boring for some, or just not vibrant and artificial enough. Some of us are more at home in nature, and others in loud, brash environments made more to appeal to those of us who never wanted to leave the funhouse.

There are no two sides to a world with so many dimensions though. Each of us with our own unique personalities has our own rightful place. So even if you don't have a favourite colour, there is always a sight to see in which a colour can strike a resounding chord in your heart.

One can spend a lot of time considering the meaning of a colour, too, or the meaning of an object because of its colour. By association we writers paint with words. In the gothic manner, for instance, red wines and velvets are the colour of blood, and silver the colour of the moon, or of a lake beneath the moon, and the ice that caps the looming black mountains afar.

In H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, the autumnal countryside was stricken by the Martian red weed, which grew and bled into the dying landscape with the advance of the invaders. That vision and the association that went with it painted the Martians as a literal and metaphorical living death for humanity.

What's in a colour? Worlds beyond the one before your eyes, and many of them!



For the following exercise there are a number of stages. It doesn't take long. Sit down with paper and pen and think of a colour that springs to mind. Take five minutes to fire off a bunch of associations with said colour.

For example, the colour orange - street light, orange peel, turmeric, the last light of a summer sunset, or the glowing embers of a campfire.

Next, seek a Colour Therapy Chart on Google, unless you have a pack of colour cards at home, or a basic paint catalogue. Take five or ten minutes to leaf through the colours and think about them. Think of what they represent to you. Just by viewing the colours alone, what do they make you think of? What do your immediate memory or feelings say?

Just as with the exercise in the previous article, let your associations of a particular colour lead the way and see where it takes you. Take fifteen minutes to half an hour. Just remember to write freely and to let your instincts lead the way.



This was another experiment my writing group worked with. As was often the case with the outcome, we all had some similar associations with colours, but then each of us brought something unique, things not only from childhoods in different eras, but from our individual cultures over the decades too.

It's easy to see why people feel an affinity for different places, cultures, and eras, especially in comparison with the one they're currently living in. Each one has its own look and feel, even if you can't go back to a time when a photograph or a piece of art was produced, to the individual it still lives and breathes and it speaks to them.

Notably the exercise proved that memory doesn't fail us, but that we sometimes fail to find the right path to unlocking what we simply forgot was there. Though memory is voluntary in the sense that we seek to recall, it is often triggered by the slightest details. Colour is one of those all important details, a representative of recollection.

Colours have a close relationship with mood and behaviour, which can say a lot for our personalities when you consider that we are all attracted and otherwise repelled by different ones. And whereas Colour Therapy as a practice is still considered pseudo science in some circles, there is no denying that if colours can affect us so profoundly, then they can certainly motivate our creativity.

We just have to find a way to let it free, to bleed vividly onto the page from the depths of our minds. And from there, so shamelessly, we might begin to paint stories we never imagined ourselves capable of until now.

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