“Seeing as there was no particular beginning nor end to my account-I think it best to first know about my colors. My inner world has always been very messy. As you can imagine, an artist’s desk combined with a bad habit of not picking up after herself- that is my mind. Mildly confusing, colorful-I seem to be the only one who can navigate it despite the mess, I know where everything goes. Everything has its place. My thoughts were chicken scratched upon the figurative sticky notes that would eventually make it to tangible paper for others to ponder.
I always felt alone in the world…not in the dark and twisty sort of way. I have always felt loved by someone or by something. I have always had outlets for the pigments of my imagination to leak into this realm of existence. But always alone. There was never a way to fully express all that was so full and powerful in my mind. I always came across as too timid or too crass. Never had the right words or the right paintbrush to tell my story to the fullest extent I wanted. I always found a way, however, to share the pieces of me, scattered amongst those I cared about…sometimes strangers I barely knew. I was able to walk around- with the illusion of being seen as I sewed all the fragments haphazardly together and like all things homemade…it was, for the most part, warm and cozy. Easy to be around.
But that’s where my personal language barrier backfired. From a young age I translated the world to understand it in my own way – as works of art. Sounds grand or even snobbish, but that’s how I experienced life outside of myself in relation to me. Your eyes would have seen my parents fighting-an angry exchange of words- I saw fresh paint- crimson splashed across old worn canvases or see some new crafty dialogue get written into a hypothetical book. A kiss translated to poetry, a haiku between tongues. My internal monologue would constantly play like a complicated movie that I would have to rewind and play again if I failed to pay attention. So -when my world flipped to black and white-I didn’t know what to say. As all my colors drained from my mind’s eye and everything was painted in shades of grey, at first I was mesmerized.
If you have ever successfully seen works of black and white art of the world you know that it can be quite mesmerizing. Beautiful to the mind’s eye-bringing everything to a certain simplicity that brought a sense of calm to the soul. But the reason that black and white works of art are on canvas on the wall to view and not internalized into the soul is because a soul is supposed to be colorful. While maybe others don’t frame the world as I do…doesn’t mean that color is absent in their world. I have come to discover that my seemingly endless grey moment was depression seeping into the crevices of my fragments where I had skipped a stitch.
The grey took years to take over the sloppy canvas in my mind. It was as if I wasn’t keeping a watchful eye over my supplies and with every messy interaction a tube of paint was stolen, a pen was nabbed. Eventually I was left with a shaky pencil to draw up plans, thoughts, and feelings. As you can imagine drawing solely with a pencil for so long would grow tiring. You would think I would have thought to purchase new tools-not just wear my pencil to a nub, but you see I had never had to find art supplies- or as you would probably call coping mechanisms- on my own. I had just been using what I was provided by my environment.
My father provided me with the black and white…and a touch of silver. Not the bland, endless void of grey I was experiencing. A much more striking variety of shades. Of course, he had his own palette he used to paint with, but in my world he provided the strong outlines, the bold statement pieces that developed my character. He added the very important details that made the full picture very beautiful and functional. Silver was his special ability to always find joy in the seemingly mundane things. Saturday morning cartoons, a touch of hard work, or the smile shared over a home cooked meal. He provided a base, a guideline, but perhaps his world was a little too black and white for me.
My mother, on the other hand, presented me a palette of colors. Some shades were carelessly mixed, creating strange shades I didn’t think I would ever use, but options were provided all the same. She tended to settle in strong but calming warm shades. Occasionally a flash of sharp reds would lash out on her bad days-but don’t we all spill emotions unintended. She often colored outside the lines, much to my fathers chagrin. I think she was like me in this sense-or more I was like her-a particularly messy canvas that no one quite understood…always open for viewers interpretation. But what she taught me and what I have learned from watching-was to never stop painting. No matter the commentary. As I grew older her canvas began to make more sense. The layers of paint gave it necessary texture, the odd shades gave character no one else could replicate.
Life, itself, threw me it’s own shades of course. Harsh reds, chilling purples and greens…some beautiful shades creating memories forever hanging in my gallery. But as I was without my own colors- I was lost without purpose for a time. Humans can be very dangerous when they are without purpose- they self-destruct, implode, start wars… perhaps find meaning in the meaningless. While I wasn’t particularly blessed with great luck…I was given a priceless gift in my little cloud of graphite-an unexpected delivery of my favorite color- packaged in the most peculiar wrapping. It would take years for me to even begin to understand what to do with it…even now I’m not sure I use it wisely.
It was my first color I collected of my own, on my very own pallet, that would eventually be joined by a variety of others. But it has always remained my favorite. It encompassed for me what could be labeled as love or friendship. In a sense both. It’s existence was interlaced with all of my most enjoyed things. The ocean, my favorite sweater, my favorite coffee cup. My favorite color was blue- simple,no particular shade, and just like it existed in the crashing waves, or the yarn of my clothing, it was bound to it’s form of delivery. You, my friend. The boy who gave me my first- very own color.
I sincerely hope I have painted you in the most genuine of light, although I do have creative license to tell the story as I see fit. I suppose that’s the danger of an artist. For to know one-you become a concept…but to be loved by one you become immortalized in some fashion whether it be by pen on paper or paint on a canvas. Thanks for being the most precious art to me.
Happy New Year, I hope you enjoy the gift. First copy as promised.”
He paused, before setting aside the carefully written prelude to the gift wrapped package in his hand…he already knew what it was but he felt a tad of nerves spike in his gut as he peeled open the paper to reveal a book- it’s cover a brilliant shade of blue. He slid the note inside the drawer of his living room table, tucking the new book beneath his arm to toss the wrapping paper and grab the lukewarm cup of coffee that had been sitting on the kitchen counter since the early morning. The house that was usually teeming with mild chaos with chattering children and early morning routines-was empty and unsettlingly quite.
Stale coffee in hand his feet lazily took him back to the living room and sank into the sagging, aged recliner. After taking a small sip and a deep breath- he cracked open the new book- first copy so he’s heard- and began to read.
This is the prologue to my book based entirely on reality- presented as fantasy. I hope you are all as excited for my book as I am. I have been working on it for so long…I’ve been having a hard time ending it. But it is time for a close…so soon- it will be in the hands the those I promised first and then to all of you. Thank you for all the support. I hope you have a great day and happy reading.