Saturday, February 7, 2009

Seeing Red


...red has always been my least favorite color...seems the antithesis of blue...though purple has always been my favorite, strangely enough, since it’s where red and blue meet...

....red, I think, was my older brother’s favorite color when we were kids...or at least I vaguely remember hearing him say that at least once...and his being red and my being blue always seemed significant, still does, though more in thinking about then than now....red is fire, supposedly, though I’ve always thought it looks more orange, and closer to a yellow orange, at that...but fire engines, nonetheless, which excited me as a kid...one of my earliest memories standing in a crowd watching a fire in center city, Philadelphia...though all I remember seeing were the fire trucks, and smoke...color of anger, certainly...color of spite, color of revenge...my friend who studied Buddhism in Colorado spent weeks meditating in different-colored rooms...wasn’t, as I remember, the most pleasant person to be around during the red week...color of cherries, Valentines, and bricks...color of sunsets, but what isn’t?

...color of lava, certainly...at least I think so, never having actually seen any except in solidified form, at which point it was grey or black...The Red and the Black, a book by Stendhal I failed to appreciate, though there was a great epigraph to one chapter: To think is to be full of sorrow, so should really try reading it again some time...once meant communist, now means Republican...the red rock canyons in Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, also more orange than red...which may be why I’ve always liked orange, even long before I’d ever seen high desert...those craggy canyons, arid orange space-scapes existing already in my mind...or maybe they were my mind...

...Mars...Satan...Hell...but also the words of Jesus in some Bibles...lipstick, while lips, generally speaking, are far more pink...which is another matter entirely...could I write something up about pink without getting pornographic?...probably, but it wouldn’t be much fun...color, along with white, of ambulances...can you believe they charged me over $650 for a two mile ride and didn’t even give me anything for pain since they said by the time they had it ready we’d already be there?...along with blue and white, color of the American flag, and the French flag, and with orange the Russian communist flag...have they changed that?...I remember seeing it up above the train station, having just made it into Yugoslavia, which was all one country then...had to ask a friend recently what country Dubrovnik’s in, which is strange since I’ve been there and she hasn’t...and how strange that was in the Reagan era, missiles pointing and primed in a game of chicken we apparently won...color of the insides of my eyelids when I’m lying in the grass facing upward on a sunny day...

...my favorite sweater, for some reason, is red, though at this point it’s pretty raggedy, so I don’t wear it much...but that’s what happens to favorite sweaters, isn’t it?...read, the heteronym for red is the past tense of read, the heteronym for reed, a kind of plant that sways in the wind by a pond, and is therefore gently active, while read/red is something else...read, dead, spilled on the sidewalk...blood, which is of course the course of life...which confuses things...

...red can make me upset...seems to represent rupture and division...but also roses with their thorns...and blood when they prick fingers...though sometimes I seem to be relatively okay with that...

18 comments:

Seeing Eye Chick said...

In the Thoth Deck, the Red Whore of Babylon is mostly done in reds and oranges, and the card is known as Lust. Red is the root chakra, the fuel that drives a being, like that magma that fuels the inner turnings of the living planet. Red is energy, primal energy.

Passion, anger, lust, spite, rage--all very primal. Rupture can be bad medically speaking, but it can be the damn breaking on a psychic level, allowing the channels to clear so that a new order can be imposed. Its a color that represents the cusp of transition--the point of ignition.

earthtoholly said...

Hi drjay,

I've never been crazy about red either, though in Asian culture red is symbolic of happiness and prosperity, so when I'd go to NY with W for Chinese New Year, I'd have to take something red to wear, but didn't own anything red, so I bought one red piece and wear it every year. Eeek!

But red skies, sunsets, rocks..."nature red" I'm okay with. I know what you mean about the red rocks, though. Not red but a beautiful orange, especially in the light of the setting sun.

Funny that your favorite sweater was red...

svasti said...

Red is the colour of passion, of love, heat. In some cultures, its a sacred colour and associated with creativity, with life, with blood (life force energy). Red is also vitality - think of fresh blood (so red) and old blood (almost black).

And, women have a special relatiopnship with the colour red - something we see once a month for a very large part of our lives. A colour we know that, should it not come, can mean the beginning of life (if all the correct conditions are in place).

So red is a sign of life. But also of healing - wounds, when fresh are red. Then as they heal, turn pink, then white. That skin (say if its a scar) never really regains its pigmentation...

I've always loved garnets and their deep red colour. So beautiful, so rich and compelling and warm (not hot like bright red). So, comforting.

The colour of red wine (my favourite) that can soothe, get me talking (more than I normally do) and eventually, helps me drift off to sleep (after that last one I shouldn't have had)...

Lydia said...

This fascinated me and I loved tracing your red labyrinth. It has always been my least favorite color also, which was why I surprised myself by using it as major accent in my other blog. It's like an alter-ego sort of thing, and I appreciate what Seeing Eye Chick described..."allowing the channels to clear so that a new order can be imposed. Its a color that represents the cusp of transition...." That's an *aha* for me, answering my questions as to why in the heck I was drawn to my least favorite color for my second blog...

word verification: coppil
sounds lusty, coppery

Aggie said...

I kinda get in the mood for red once in awhile and wear it to be bold. Though it is not my most fave colour.

Melinda said...

Jay,

I don't like red either. It reminds me of blood--the blood from violent deaths, my blood going into the syringe, and I used to literally see red when I was a child and being abused. I would close my eyes and literally, I would see red (there *is* a reason for that expression, I think--'seeing red.').

Interestingly enough--like your favorite sweater is red, most people tell me how wonderful I look in red. I used to have a beautiful red silk dress and everytime I wore that dress, I felt like the queen of the world--because red is also a power color. Slowly, my hatred/fear of red is being replaced by liking the power of it. I love feeling that I have power over my life.

Melinda

Lana Gramlich said...

The psychology of colors is an interesting subject. Red (& orange,) are also frequently used in restaurants (or their logos,) as they tend to stir hunger, as well. Perhaps the reminders of meat & blood, again.
Oddly, when I set up for my artist of the month stint & the woman grouped my works in a way I never had, I saw that very little I've ever done featured red in any way. A lot of blues (& when I do blue, I lean toward ALL blue, or all cool colors, anyway.) Interesting to see that about myself.
I've always been a purple fan, too, btw.

david zen-kennedy said...

very interesting posting. . . I had been working on a posting called Saturday Blue which isn't ready yet but you've kind of inspired me to try to finish. Are you familiar with the song 'one more red nightmare?' or 'blue, red and grey?' Very different from each other but both worth a listen. Your blog is quite a pleasure to read.

astorix said...

Very cool stream of consciousness kinda post there. I'm always interested in people's favorite colors, even though it's the classically trite question, because it really seems indicative of a mental state or personality.

I change my favorite color all the time; for a couple years it was all about blues and greens, then my entire wardrobe shifted into dark browns and greys as I was going through a separation, nowadays red is my favorite and my whole house is decorated with it. It makes me feel warm. I expect this will change again as life and circumstances move along.

Applause for another great post, Mr. Yoga! They always give me something to think about.

knittnkitten said...

As per the link, he's a sugar glider (flying squirrel type of guy).
BTW I love Rothko.

RB said...

I find it interesting that you've tucked in the mention of the purple in there--you like a color that is cancels both your least and most favorite color.

This is makes me think that there are two ways to appreciate color--subjective taste, "I like blue, green" etc. and a more complicated objective inquiry (as in your blog.) Colors have them their implications regardless of whether we like them or not, and our taste doesn't prohibit us from being drawn to them.

Rhiannon said...

I don't like the "firey orangey" red...but I just love the dark reds, dark brown, then maroons, burgundy and I love purple. I love black too and wear a lot of it. I like to wear dark red.

I have a beautiful deep red turtleneck sweater that I love and whenever I wear it I'm told I look so good in that color. It's my favorite top. I also have a little tailored red blazer jacket. I also have a pair of dark red leather and suede boots, with silver snaps and such decorated on the side of it. There's never a time when I wear them that I don't get compliments on my boots.

Wearing dark red and also brown always makes me feel good, happy, better. Not sure why.

They have test quiz you can take online to find out what kind of personality you have and such by finding out which colors your attracted to and also wear. Apparently I'm passionate, love nature, and I'm my own person...at least according to all those color quiz test I've taken.

Being an Artist, well with the color wheel...I tend to dislike yellow and orange the most. However I just love coral and peach colors. I"m a fall person skin color wise..and I love fall! Maybe your a winter? You sound like you might be a winter.:o)

Maybe take a color quiz test online Jay and find out more about yourself color wise...but it does seem to appear from your terrific writing that you most definitely already know pretty much who you are.:o)

Blessings,

Rhi

Karin said...

you might find the NYTimes article from this past friday's front page interesting. Titled "Reinvent Wheel?Blue Room. Defusing a bomb? Red Room." it shows how color effects us and our performances, according to 'scientific study'. Here's a link: Reinvent Wheel? Blue Room. Defusing a Bomb? Red Room.

Gypsy at Heart said...

You are the Krzysztof Kieslowski of the Yoga world.

Bird said...

LOVE the choice of Rothko to illustrate this. When I was a very young scally I got my first invite to an art event - the opening of the Tate art gallery in Liverpool. A whole room full of Rothko's greeted me. I'd never really seen any abstract art before, and these were the Seagram murals, completed just before Rothko's death. I found them so powerfully oppressive that I almost fainted. I was absolutely terrified of them and slunk out of the gallery almost on my belly, like a cat. Fast forward twenty years or more and I recently saw them again in a much larger space - the red in those paintings was still incredibly visceral. I doubt there is a more powerful colour than red.

Kim said...

Now I know I just told you my favorite color is yellow, and that's true, but my signature color is red.

Red signals power to me. Like a red power blazer. Words bolded in red.

Bobby said...

I love all colors, but my favorite is red. I don't wear red clothes, drive a red car or live in a red house--but it's still my favorite.

When I close my eyes in darkness I see an indigo orb blistered in pearl white slivers--it's been like that since my first memories:)

Jules said...

Hi there :)

Oh and to think you have just been over to take a look at my very 'red' blog !. Hope it wasn't too offputting LOL

You make some really good valid points abnout the colour 'red', however it has been such a powerful and passionate colour that has worked all my life for me. I even wrote a post a while ago about my identity, and the colour red linking to it ;-)

For me I have always been attracted and drawn to it from such an early age.

I sometimes feel negative about other colours, but I try to not let them influnce me to much, and instead I try to draw some something refreshing and postive from each of them :)

But I can see how Red often associates with anger, and other destructive energies.

Talk again soon :)

Jules