♫ Tan Shoes with Pink Shoelaces ♫

We’re singing again. Dodie Stevens this time, because the song crossed my mind while writing this post.


Steve Harvey of Family Feud

One day each week, I head thirty miles north to visit with my mother. I take her to the grocery store, shopping, for occasional doctor visits, and four times a year, we gripe and complain on the way to our accountant for our quarterly taxes. We generally have dinner before heading back to her house to gossip visit some more and watch the Game Show Network. I run up and down the stairs during commercials to do her laundry.

Yesterday, I was treated to a gorgeous drive on the way up. The fall colors are nearly at their peak now, and with the sun shining, it was miles upon miles of aurulent, melichrous, coccineous, vitellary, badious, and rubious leaves.

The color show reminded me that the Weekly Writing Challenge this week was to incorporate a splash of color into your post. I thought of my favorite color, yellow. It’s a cheerful color. We live in a yellow house, but I don’t want to write about my house. I’m mad at it right now because it allowed a power surge to wipe out my microwave and a television this week. (Public Service Announcement: Buy good Imagepower strips. Most of our electronics were plugged into heavy-duty power strips, and although four of them were fried and off to a dumpster today, the items plugged into them survived.)

I do have this love affair with pink. I have a fabulous, double breasted, pink jacket with a high collar. It’s quite retro. Pink shoelaces show up in my books.

Aha! That’s it! Color in writing.

Do you give a lot of thought to color when you write? Beyond the fact that a room was blue, the tablecloth was white, or the villain was wearing all black? Do you use color stereotypically?

This is something that probably comes up in Writing 101, but we all know I didn’t take that class. I searched one of my books and found references to colors that work just fine in their context, but had I given more thought to color specifically, I may have tried some other words and descriptions.

As my mother was TWO HOURS in the eye doctor’s office yesterday, I spent the time searching and reading on my Nook about using color in your writing. That explains the obscure color words I used above to describe the leaves. I was surprised to find that these words are also considered obscure:
Chartreuse – Humph! I put a guy in a chartreuse thong in one of my books.
Beige – What? Surely you’ve owned a pair of beige pants.
Hoary – I’ve heard my husband use this word. Oh, wait. Maybe not in reference to a color.
Indigo – Everyone knows this color, don’t they?
Khaki – More pants, usually with too many pockets.
Maroon – Come on. Obscure? Bugs Bunny uses this color word often. Image
Violet – Didn’t your grandmother have a little pot of violets in her house? You know this color.

Colors can show mood in your writing. Every color suggests a feeling. Red denotes passion and action; blue is trust and peace; yellow for wisdom and happiness; green for balance, growth, and nature. There are many sites that will give you a wide range of colors and their meaning/perception.

Colors can help to set the tone of your scene, and by adding strong adjectives, you can set a powerful stage with wonderful imagery.

There are thousands of colors across the spectrum for you to choose from when describing objects. Once you’ve decided upon your base color, change it to a color from the same family that will give your writing more vigor. Instead of a red sweater, choose a scarlet sweater, or even a ruby red sweater.

Many writers use similes and metaphors with color. The walls were a putrid green like a zombie Imageskateboarding toward me to devour my flesh.  They can be a great way to convey color images.

I’ve finally thrown my hat into the ring for NaNoWriMo. I think it will be a good kick in the pants to get me going strong. I only have two paragraphs written so far for my new book, and I don’t have to use them at all toward my novel/word count in November. As my setting will be Chicago at Christmas, I’m going to pay more attention to color in my writing this time.

Do you use color in your writing? Do you rely on it to set mood, tone, and feel?

P.S. – If you missed it, that crazy Stairway to Heaven post last week was Freshly Pressed. A lot of people stopped by to leave creative poetry and/or fun comments if you’d like to take a look.

Slowly I Turned

ImageJuly 2, 1984. We cross the Peace Bridge into Canada, and I start rubbernecking like a kid in F.A.O. Schwarz.

The view along the Niagara Parkway as we make our way to the falls is lovely. The Niagara River is to my right, well-maintained homes and parks are to my left, while trees line the parkway on both sides. I attempt to take in every detail and make a mental memory for all time.

My heart quickens in anticipation of my upcoming encounter once again with the thunderous monster at the end of the river. Every few seconds I peer down the ribbon of water, hoping for a glimpse of white spray signaling our arrival.

A gorgeous home comes into view. I want to live here on the parkway. An audible sigh escapes my lips; envy surrounds the soft sound.

The drive is taking longer than I remember. We come to a small, quaint town and run into a bank to convert our American dollars to Canadian. Our math skills are as good as those of a beaver who chiseled a pencil or three (see Mark Armstrong), and we know it will be easier to use the more colorful bills than worry about conversion rates for our greenbacks.

We encounter a kerfuffle alongside the parkway. People are moving quickly. We slow our pace, and myImage rubbernecking increases as we drive by. A man is shooting video of others as they shove a barrel into the water. They race to their vehicles, quickly overtake us, and speed toward the falls.

I am soon squealing like a teacup pig enjoying her new red rain boots (see La La). The spray above the falls is now in my line of sight. It only takes a few minutes before we are turning into a parking lot.

There are police cars, ambuli (the plural of ambulance), ok, ambulances, and security personnel rushing around. Tourists are excited and curious about the disruption to their day. I know what has happened. My rubberneck saw the barrel go into the river – a lapping, growing monster as it carried its victim away to certain death. I’m strangely unconcerned as I rush to my spot.ImageI lean over the rail at the edge of the falls and breathe deeply as I absorb every bit of the experience with all of my senses. I am mesmerized and enchanted by the thunderous monster that is Niagara Falls. There are no words to describe this particular spot at the edge of the Horseshoe Falls. You have to hear it, see it, feel it, to truly understand.

I am unaware of how long I stand in this one spot. Others may have wanted to stand here, but I am Imagegreedy this day. Slowly I turned … in time to see policemen and rescue workers whisk away a man with a blanket around his shoulders. Onlookers applaud. Good for him. He lived. I turn back to my spot and allow the monster to envelop me once more.

WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Easy As Pie

Sentimental Journey

ImageMost people are born with a few prominent genes.

Some of my friends have the nurturing gene and are wonderful at taking care of their children and/or their fellow man. Others have the sewing gene and make beautiful clothing. I envy people who have the artistic gene and can paint beautiful portraits, landscapes, and everything in between, while even my stick figures are cringe-worthy.

I was probably off running in circles on a cloud when genes were passed out, because I missed out on most of them – especially the sentimental gene. I am not a sentimental person.

The weekly writing challenge at The Daily Post at WordPress is: “Tell us about your most meaningful possession.”

I don’t have one. Writing exercise over. I don’t win.

Many years ago, my husband endured several back injuries at work. We sold our wedding rings to make ends meet until worker’s compensation kicked in. I never batted an eye. My wedding ring was gone, and I didn’t feel anything about it other than I was glad we could pay the bills.

My father died in his early fifties. My mother gave his pocket watch to me. I felt nothing when I looked at the watch. I knew my dad didn’t want to wear a wristwatch, and that’s the only reason he carried the pocket watch. I sold it at a garage sale.

ImageIn my twenties, I opened a box from storage. It held books from my teen years – Nancy Drew, Dana Girls, Trixie Belden, Donna Parker, and many more. Looking at them made me feel warm and fuzzy inside – for a couple of minutes. I promptly resealed the box and gave it to a woman I worked with, so her daughter could read them. I remember the woman being flabbergasted that I would give away something precious from my childhood. She said I would regret it. I didn’t.

It boils down to “things” and “possessions.” I don’t care about either. Our house could burn down tomorrow, and I would only hope the dog got out, and that I had already checked the lottery ticket in my desk.

What I do care about are memories. We’ve had our ups and downs financially over the years, but we rarely spend much money on anniversary, birthday, or holiday gifts. Instead, we make memories.

A family outing to dinner and then to the local theater to see A Christmas Carol makes a wonderful memory.

Hauling your ten-year-old kid along on tons of old-folks bus tours, so that your lonely mother is entertained, makes for fabulous, and sometimes fabulously funny, memories.

ImageRemembering that my father laughed like Muttley when he pulled a fast one on us kids is a memory I’ll have forever.

The memory lane is a long one. I have four siblings, and we grew up in a simpler time where we spent entire summer afternoons forty-feet high in the air as we dangled from trees. My older brother fell out once and lived to tell about it. We made our own haunted house in the basement and charged the neighbor kids a dime to come through. We later spent Monday nights on the living room floor with cousins and friends as we watched Laugh-In, while Dad sat in his recliner unable to control his Muttley laugh.

There are many more memories, but they are mine and would likely bore you. So, my answer to the writing challenge this week isn’t exactly what they were asking for, but my memories are my most meaningful possession.