I wrote this a while ago and I've been waiting for a lull. With PB hanging low until his computer issues get resolved, this seems like a good time:
I was describing my new jacket to Lynn.
Steve: It’s dark brown. And I have a dark grey shirt, and black pants.
Steve: Lynn, do you have any idea what I’m talking about?
Lynn: Well, I know brown and grey and black.
S: Yeah, but do you have any sense of what it means to wear those colors?
Another thought hit me.
S: What do you know about red?
L: It’s a color.
S: Anything special about it?
S: Do you know that it really stands out, you can’t miss red?
L: Really? I didn’t know that.
S: How can I describe colors to you? I don’t mean what they look like, but what they mean, which ones go together, how they affect people. Obviously you can’t know colors like a sighted person can, but it seems to me you should have a better understanding of colors so when people talk about them, you have a clue of what they are talking about. So it makes more sense when you decide what to wear. Let me see…
S: I wonder if I could equate colors to some other sense. Say, what does red taste like? hmmm. I would say red is like chili peppers, because when you taste chili pepper in something, it stands out, you notice it right away.
L: Really, wow, I never knew that about red.
And so my search began for how to give Lynn a sense of colors. She’s over 50, very smart and takes no guff.
My challenge to you, as poets and writers, is to describe to her what colors mean. I’ve started by trying to find foods/tastes, sounds, textures (senses Lynn has) and trying to match them to colors. As I’ve talked to folks there are a couple of things to think about:
1. It is really easy to associate things with their color (lemon and bananas are yellow). At first I rejected that totally, but I suspect that the sun is so primal that it’s warmth on your face could, in fact, be yellow or orange. But I don’t think there are too many like that.
2. I think we need to think of something that gives a sense of the color and
3. Also gives a sense of the color in relationship to other colors. (purple is blue and red; some colors look good together, others don’t, etc.)
So what can you conjure up that I can give to Lynn to help her better understand colors?