My favorite color has always been grey. Grey for me is a soothing and calming color, one that symbolizes balance. According to wikipedia (so it’s gotta be right, right?): In Europe and the United States, surveys show that grey is the color most commonly associated with conformity, boredom, uncertainty, old age, indifference, and modesty. Only one percent of respondents chose it as their favorite color.[Heller, Eva, Psychologie de la Couleur, p. 224-242]
So, I find myself in the minority when it comes to my favorite color. I like grey because it has no side. – I also have to say I disagree with the wikipedia entry, as I don’t find it boring, uncertain or infirm – And I think that brings me into conflict with a majority of our culture when it comes to that concept – and let’s face it, the USA is obsessed with choosing sides. Sports, politics, religion – choosing a color, choosing a side, is inescapable.
What does this have to do with writing?
Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve been working on a few stories that dealing a MC who is dealing with stacked odds or overwhelming forces, conspiracies or dangerous groups. Inevitably as a writer, you will find yourself trying to craft a scene or situation that puts your characters (and hence the reader) into a situation that is designed illustrate fear or danger. And so, as a writer, you read up on this type of scene or situation, you research and you think a lot about how do you convey the exact feeling your MC is experiencing so that the reader can feel it too – or at least recognize it.
In doing said research I find myself confronting stuff I normally try to keep to the background – and its stuff that we get inundated with daily by media and the news. That this world we live in is trying to kill us.
Now, I don’t believe that it is outright trying to kill us, that’s not what I mean – but, nature, when you get right down to it – could care less whether you live or whether you die. It was here long before you and will be here long after you. Nature doesn’t give a shit about you.
The world we have created, however, is a different story. Man against man is the basis for so much suffering and strife – we a buried under this idea, this reality, in an avalanche of information and news day in and day out. If you are sensitive to it, like I am, it can be a bit too much on some days… you shut it out, you retreat and you disconnect – as a means of survival.
Recently I’ve watched videos from Noam Chomsky (Thought Control In Democratic Societies), Michael Ruppet (Collapse) and others that were dealing with some of the topics I was exploring in these short stories I’ve been writing about (overwhelming forces, grand conspiracies) and the talk Chomsky was giving were broadcast in the late 80’s and early 90’s and it accurately predicts the state of the world we live in today – a world we accepted as citizens and which only seems to be getting more and more difficult to navigate – especially for lower and middle income folks.
We live in a world dominated by fear – and we are told that the only thing we can really do about it, is accept it. That the real answer to fear, the media will have us believe, is to numb yourself to it.
“The system is what it is – it’s just too big – it’s too big to fail,” seems to be the sentiment, the same one the banks were using to strong-arm bailout money from the government. And so, our leaders who are so closely tied with the corporations and businesses who are really the ones running the country (they control the voting and policies being made) – at least this is what is presented by Chomsky, and others.
Our computer screens, news channels and media – are filled with stories and images that instill a constant state of fear and panic. And in the same breath, we are told to consume – buy this, you need it, it will make things better – ignore the bad, buy and be happy – but watch out, this will kill you, those are against you, there’s a killer a town away, an army marching to destroy your way of live… fear this, buy that, fear this, buy that.
Is it any wonder so many are on prescription medication to cope?
Do I believe all of what I just wrote? I believe a large chunk of it is very possible, yes. We are going through some very tough times because we are becoming too over populated and there just isn’t enough to go around – and a very few people are profiting from that. As dire as it sounds, I don’t think its necessarily orchestrated by bad people.
And that turmoil and stress mixed in a crucible of fear leads to some great fiction – which, if I think about it, feeds into the precise type of distraction the media insists I indulge in to keep me from questioning what’s really going on in the world. It’s a terribly horrifying Catch-22 – isn’t it?
Or am I just talking crazy talk? 🙂
What I do know is this – you cannot live in fear. Fear is the enemy, as so many much more wise than I have said before. What you fear you hate, what you hate you kill.
The world is much too beautiful to be afraid of… People are much too beautiful to be afraid of.
And so, like any artist, I will take fear and use it, transform it and give it back for someone else to use. And that’s really at the heart of why I tell stories – to banish fear. Even if banishing fear means trying to scare the pants off someone every now and then.
And that’s why I like the color grey – because for me, its not a color that inspires one to take up a cause or a flag – it’s not a color that instills an idea or slogan – and it certainly isn’t the color of fear.
Grey to me, is everything together, everything connected.
And I like that a lot.