Wednesday, July 27, 2005


She Dreamt of Roses
Originally uploaded by lorrainemd.

My two favorite colors. Red and blue. Emotional opposites. The red of passionate life, and the blue of melancholic--or maybe just serene--meditation. I wonder if the color of a personality is coded somewhere in the genes. If so, my father was clearly red, my mother blue. And I their red-blue daughter.

Maureen Dowd's tribute to her mother which appeared in Sunday's New York Times was wonderful in many ways, but I particularly like her concept of "the red badge of courage."

From Dowd's piece:

Peggy Dowd died last Sunday at 6:30 a.m. I'm not sure if she was trying to keep breathing until the 8:30 a.m. Mass for shut-ins or Tim Russert's "Meet the Press."I just know that I will follow the advice she gave me in a letter while I was in college, after I didn't get asked to a Valentine's Day dance. She sent me a check for $15 and told me to always buy something red if you're blue - a lipstick, a dress.

"It will be your 'Red Badge of Courage,' " she wrote. And courage was a subject the lady knew something about.


gulnaz said...

that was a very poignant excerpt.
i like red for its energy and drawn to it. like the way it is used in oriental art etc. i like blue too.

leslee said...

Do you vote red-blue, too? Just kidding. ;-)

Yes, interesting juxtaposition of red and blue. I have conflicting sides of my personality, too, though maybe sunny yellow and some dusky murky shade of midnight blue!

Woz said...

Red & blue, two colours I am drawn to, or perhaps represented by. Also got me thinking about the film trilogy 'Three Colours' by Krystof Kieslowski - based on the colours of the french flag, for liberty, equality and fraternity.

Write on, Fearless

rdl said...

We are two peas in a pod.

Vickie said...

Your mother's advice is sound. I'd never thought of buying something red if I was blue. It sounds like good advice.

Patry Francis said...

fearless! the Koslowski trilogy was wonderful. I'm wondering--has he done anything since?

And leslee, I like your color combination. As the visually astute finnegan reminds us, that makes you a deep shade of green.

But actually, I'm not sure. I don't think my color's mix. They're more like the French--or of course, the American flag.

Dale said...

A friend of mine, a long-time practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, was seriously depressed, once upon a time, becoming suicidal, & her teacher was unavailable -- on retreat, maybe? So she called up another lama, a westerner, but who had done all the training, the three-year solitary retreat & all, to ask him for help. He insisted that she commit to carrying out his instructions before he'd give them. She hesitated -- she being a person who takes commitments very seriously -- but she agreed.

"Go out," he said, "and buy something sparkly."

"What?" she said. "No, I mean I'm seriously depressed. That's not the sort of thing I need."

"Look," he said, "you commited to following my instructions. That's what they are. Go out and buy something sparkly, and then call me back."

So she went out and bought some earrings. Sparkly ones. By the time she got home, the depression was lifting. She still has the earrings.

(Not suggesting this would always work: it had everything to do with him and her and what they knew about each other. But I've always loved the story.)

Dale said...

... & by the way, what marvellous blogs you have!

Woz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Woz said...

Lady P

Kieslowski died in 1996, not long after 'Three Colours Red' lost out to 'Pulp Fiction' for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. 'Dekalog' was a masterpiece and well worth the time. If you like Polish cinema, you could also try the films of Wajda.

Write on, Fearless

Perfect Virgo said...

I like that excerpt.

Would you consider it fickle to change one's favourite colour? I was always a fan of green but this year I switched to blue, dark blue. (I like black but it hardly qualifies as a colour.)

Patry Francis said...

Dale, I love the suggestion to buy something sparkly when you're depressed. Like the 'Red Badge of Courage," it may not be a total cure for depression, but it is something concrete you can do right now. An amulet.

fearless: thanks for the suggestion of Dekalog. I'll report back after I find it.

And p.v. Changing favorite colors is really at the heart of my post--though I didn't say it. All my life I've been a devotee of red, and suddenly I find myself switching to blue. I suspect it says that both of us are changing in some way that strikes far deeper than simple color preference.

Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful post