No one sees the same blue

I write, to a large degree, the adventures or experiences I'd like to have … or at least to read. For me this has always included a healthy dose of sights - my characters going places I'd like to see. Consequently, my characters usually have a substantial background in art and history, and a vocabulary of elements and colors.

As I was crafting Elize, my straitlaced scientist, none of that fit. Why would she know Islamic architecture? How could she explain and/or appreciate Majorelle blue? Between her family and her education there wasn't a reason. She wouldn't and she couldn't. 

My first draft had her blind to the world around her, which made Morocco ominous and unappealing, not to mention drab. Not fun to write and NOT the experience I wanted to read! If she couldn't SEE, then what was the point of being in Morocco?

I returned to her biography, walking as Elize through her life experiences. I also threw down the book and picked up my bins, exploring South Texas's great birding sites and visiting Elize's home town, alma mater and closest shore, at South Padre Island. 

Somewhere in there, I got it! The colors of her world weren't named after Crayons and didn't have painter's names, they were translated through nature! She didn't see Cadminum Red like others might, she saw Male Cardinal Red.

With that realization, the entire lens through which she sees the world snapped into place. From that vision came the heart of the character and I hope, her appreciation of Morocco in all its multi-colored, -patterned and -shaped wonder.

The gift of that vision to me was to not just look at something, classify and dismiss it, but to wonder at it and really look and realize that Male Cardinal Red is actually tinged with black; that there isn't a solid green in nature, it shifts and moves with the light and the wind; and that only through birds (and possibly the Aegean) can Majorelle blue be expressed. 

I believe Anne Morrow Lindberg said it best, "Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living." 

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           Majorelle blue in Marrakesh. How would you describe it?

© J Suzanne Frank 2013