Tuesday, March 31, 2009
"Yellow and Red" by lrargerich
Two things: colors, and a situation with which I am already very frustrated. I first thought of red and blue as my colors, and situations with which I am already frustrated seemed initially to be out of the question as fodder for fiction. I didn't want to invite speculation about who or what I was writing about, or why. So it was sort of surprising to sit down and start writing and within like, three words use yellow as a color and my own frustrations as the character's.
The frustrating situation is not moving, not rising to action, feeling blocked in and limited. Red, interestingly, has several connotations in popular culture, and a lot of them are opposite. One implication is passion: you burn with passion, it lights you up, there is inspiration, movement, action, fueled by passion. Another implication is stop: red light, stop sign, access denied. Meanwhile, yellow is mellow: it can spring up lightly like a flower or piss away slowly like piss. Strong emotions aren't connected to yellow, but a lot of other things are. So for this exercise, red was always connected to the girl: on her lips, on her feet, in her hands. Her passion, her lust for life, showed up chapped, scuffed up, fading out like the flame in a cigarette. Yellow isn't a strong color, but if it keeps popping up in little ways it can create an overwhelming effect, like a yellow car with yellow lights driven by yellow hair. What kept the girl trapped, getting in and out of her car, starting her engine multiple times without going anywhere, was her own stupidity. (Stop parking there if you are getting parking tickets!) Finally what keeps her from leaving is red, and its her own lack of fuel, the last of which she probably burned starting and restarting her engine.
Writing this was fun, because of the challenge of repeating two colors almost to the point of inanity, of finding multiple ways to inject these colors, of figuring out synonyms when what I mean is red and yellow. I had to stop in the middle of writing it, and during that pause, driving around, EVERYTHING in the whole world was red and yellow. Everything, I saw red and yellow everywhere. So that was fun; I kept thinking, and then the girl can go to McDonalds! And get in the exit only lane! And yield! And also stop! At stop signs! And stop lights! And brake lights! And then she can get pizza! It was interesting to get back to writing it, because I felt like there wasn't enough of these two colors. I thought, while she is stuck in a parking garage, there is a world of yellow to interact with. I felt bad about every sentence I wrote for this that didn't include a primary color, which explains the extended sentences. It was also interesting to symbolize my frustrations, and to think about them in the abstract.
I'm not sure how I feel about this one overall; in some ways I am thinking that not much happened, in some ways I am thinking that was the whole point.