I’ve sat in a lot of creative writing classes or workshops. Through school, in small groups, graduate-level workshops, bookstore meetings, one-on-one mentoring. I’m a note taker, and since high school, I’ve kept a journal with the best pieces of advice that I’ve be given or read or overheard at a coffee shop. It’s my commonplace book of writing advice, and I like to look back at the jewels. I shared this advice from R. L. Stevenson the other night. I wrote it down in 2002.
The hand written record is a great method to look back, spark memory, and start dreaming. There’s advice about creating voice or developing character. There are gems tell me not to be afraid to “kill your darlings,” to write from my white hot center, to create structure and tone from character, to use less instead of more. But this advice, that I’m pretty sure comes from my high school English and creative writing teacher, Kathy Jacobs, is some of the best I’ve heard.
Red is always good, she told me.
Think about it. What do you see next to you right now that is red? Bold. Bright. Alarm Red.
There’s a hot rod perched on the table in front of me. It’s so red, it even reflects fast.
A popsicle has bled into a puddle on my son’s plate.
Molly‘s bed is a deflated red balloon in the corner. She prefers it that way.
Minimal description, but oh my, how Red pacts an impact. And I agree. Red sparks emotions. There’s no in-between with the color red, and you know what it is the millisecond you see it. There’s passion. Strength. Anger. Power. It reminds us of childhood and Santa and birthday parties.
Colors are powerful influencers. And they hold great possibility. I think they’re a beautiful way to express feelings. I’m partial to yellow, but I’m drawn to red in a big way that deserves to be recognized.
Maybe it’s because red is the color of inspiration.
Or maybe it’s just because red is always good.