You Should’ve Seen It in Color

retro tv on river shore near forest

One of the main reasons I stopped writing professionally was that over time I felt the color draining from my writing. The grind of churning out what felt like greyscale articles day in and day out truly took a toll on my sense of creative integrity. When I first started writing, artistry was often encouraged and sought after. Nowadays, it seems personality is better left to voice talents and video stars now, while many writers are left to suffer in a black and white prison if they ever hope to earn any sort of living. Then, if what you’re writing isn’t fictional and serialized and formulaic, you’re more likely than not a starving artist.

Perhaps I’m fortunate to be old enough to recall black and white television sets still active in households when I was young. Rarely were they the main set in a house, but rather stashed away in some back room or even in a kids’ bedroom. What fascinated me most about black and white televisions is you had to imagine what was shown on the television as it would look in color. 

Naturally, your brain wants to colorize everything and after awhile it begins to fill in the colors for you, at least in your recollections. For whatever reason, in being expected to write a certain way for pay, or being told how to succeed as a professional writer, I lost my ability to write colorfully. My ability to connect with a more vivid palette in conveying my art has been lost due to losing the joy I once had in painting word pictures.

People say they value storytelling even in professional work. Yet, many of the stories I read today lack depth and read increasingly derivative by the day. Sure, I find some writers who still manage to inject some humor. Even then, the positive aspects of these pieces are often based in pop culture references and I’ve grown weary of those. Sometimes, I still find wordplay cleverly woven into narratives. More often. I find those who believe themselves more clever than they really are trying to force the art for the sake of appearances. It’s rare that I come across writings that truly inspire me to expand my palette of expression, to dig deeper and dredge up more tear-jerking memories and thoughts to share in my writings.

When does the work of writing cease to be merely scribbling and something worth reading? I ask myself that again and again. Yet, I never came to a good solid answer until I set out to write about something that began to form in my mind after hearing a particular lyric: “you should’ve seen it in color.” 

I could go more into the song that the line was from, but in isolation it made me consider just how grey so much of my thinking has become. It’s strange to me how black and white I consider my past now. Much of it has become obscured by the fading that the imperfection of long-term memory inevitably has on what slowly becomes our distant past. I now must put on my three dimensional glasses that also have vivid color filters. Before I get too dizzy and nauseous from the experience, I have to write not so much what I see, but rather what I perceive. Only then can I bring back living color to what has been my life.

I fail daily to find the silver linings in what has often been a very unfair life. I’d rather forget so much of it, yet there is much worth telling in the colorful moments I have yet to share. The trouble is that so much of what bookends these colorful times is too painful for me to recall. The dark pages are often full of identity crises, mixed emotions, betrayal, abuse, and despair. 

Yet, there are still moments deserving to be captured, eternally fixated in phrases deserving to be written for the enjoyment of imaginations looking to find a splash of color in our often too binary grayscale lives. I wish to bleed living color back into a dimming black and white world. The colors I see now are much too dull and muted for my liking and what choice do I have to pierce the mundane but with my own sharp wit and intellect that I’ve allowed to dull so tragically.

There is so much of my childhood that I hold in such high regard, yet I feel that child is nearly lost forever since she doesn’t know who she was meant to be or even that she was a she at all. Who people thought the beloved child truly wasn’t what was really there, yet the joy remained within her, even as she pretended to be a he in order to fulfill some role. I fear too many children regardless of their gender identity or what organs they happen to be born with are constricted to black and white definitions of gender and sexuality even at an age where innocence and purity must be protected and cherished.

More than that, I must retrain my mind to again see the vivid colors within the shades of grey shown to me. It’s a true irony that the more vivid our digital displays are that the duller our imaginations become. The resolution of our tellings becomes worse as the bitrate of our input increases and it’s happening exponentially year after year. We too often let technology do the work our imaginations were designed to and our senses dull. 

Of course, many artists try to keep the dream alive. But, those who suffer from limitations that don’t keep up with today’s unrealistic expectations that technology has afforded us see their art not only go unappreciated but oft openly mocked. The limitations of the technology from my past made me think more artistically and vividly from the limited palette digital artists once had. Now, the more primitive the technology used to create art the more I appreciate it.

What now, dear reader, do you wish you could recollect in living color that others around you perceive in black and white? It’s a true irony that you can paint with unlimited colors with today’s technology, yet time and again I’m seeing the world more in black and white than ever. What color can you inject into the world today through your own personal artistry? Is there something that deserves to be brought back to life that you can’t live without? 

For me, I must spill color back onto the pages of my past, no matter how messy the process may be. If my past remains a negative roll of greyscale, my tomorrows will continue to appear ever bleaker.

~ Amelia <3

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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