The missing emerald: A writer’s discovery moment

We changed all the light bulbs in our master bathroom to pure daylight or something, which made everything, including us, look completely washed out, desaturated, awful.

So, we hauled my fabric bins in and started holding up different colors in the light. Nothing worked. Nothing. As I scanned the bins of neatly organized fabrics in search of “the color” that would resonate with the new lights, I realized we had nearly every possible color range except green. There was no green.

I went to our closet in search of a green garment, anything green to check in the light. No green in the closet, no green in our wardrobes. I went to the guest room, dug through the bed linens. Into the kitchen, a dish towel, anything green. Nothing. Nowhere in the house, except for a lot of very green plants, there was simply no green.

How is that even possible? What subconscious block do I have with green? I have teal and turquoise and navy and royal blue, but no “green.” I couldn’t even check to see if green was “the color” for the lighting because there simply wasn’t any in the house anywhere other than the plants.

Finally, I found some old craft paints in emerald green, dark green, vibrant teal, and dark navy in the back of a long forgotten drawer. So, I painted a canvas using all four colors, placed it in the bathroom under the lights and — wow. It had a peacock brilliance that I never expected. Whereas my brain couldn’t do straight-on green, by adding the emerald green and dark green with the teal and navy of my comfort zone, the result was unexpected. And it resonated beautifully in the new lights.

The next morning, during writing class, the instructor talked to us about analogies, metaphors, and similes. Most of us in the class are first time novelists, which means we’re eager learners.

One of the students shared that she doesn’t use metaphors and analogies in her story telling and wonders if she should and asked what we all thought about that. I couldn’t help but think immediately about my color story and how the addition of emerald green, a new color, a missing color, one vibrant color to my existing “usual” palette had resulted in a magnificent peacock effect that I never would have seen or considered otherwise — because it was missing in my world. Why? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is found and it is beautiful.

The very same thing is happening in my writing as a I continue to transition or evolve from journalist (non-fiction) to fiction. Journalism, reporting, is supposed to be dry and factual by its very nature. Fiction, on the other hand — and ironically — is colorful and alive. We see the room, we smell the coffee, we feel the rumble of the train as it passes.

When I realized the lack of green in my palette, I also awoke to the lack of color in my story. The peacock effect still captivates me.

In retirement and writing my first novel, I work part time in a fabric store. I love the voices. Plus, because I love to sew, its a lovely space to spend time in a few days a week! So, yesterday, after my shift, I headed straight for the greens in search of emerald. Good timing as we near March and St. Patrick’s Day season, which means the store is stocking up with spring greens! I found two beautiful solid emeralds (that happened to be on sale), yay!

L-R: Metallic green quilted fabric, emerald spandex, painted canvas of dark and emerald greens, teal, navy, and a spot of green glitter (why not).

How I will incorporate the fabrics into the overall bathroom color makeover, I have no idea, if at all, but I have to stretch out a bit! And I am delighted at the pairing of emerald and teal with a whish of navy and deep purple. Maybe I’ll make a garment? I don’t know, but I’m enjoying contemplating it all!

How funny is it that one little lighting change in a room can open a whole new dimension in the rainbow — visually and as a writer. I am so eager to add more color to my story, our home, and, well, to life! More color, please!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda M Moody says:

    This new paradigm discovery tell tale made me think of my own new changes of heart. It wasn’t about an unrealized color, but of a need for husband and wife separate bedrooms. This need came about from sleeping downstairs, on the futon next to my 16 year old dog who would no longer sleep upstairs. Besides keeping me hostage in the livingroom to be with him at every moment, it was easier and more restful for both of us that I reside with him till he was with us. During that time I packed the futon with as much fluff as possible to get it as comfy as my bed. It was discovered through conversations with my husband during this period that we sleep better alone and away from each other. To get back to the new love of green from the story. I didn’t change my paradigm because of new lights but of an old dog. Lol. My doggy is still with us. I’m grateful. I am also looking forward to a new bedroom that is all mine, with a real bed of coarse and NOT the futon. Thanks Krystyn for your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. K says:

      I love this! Thank you Linda!


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