What Color is My World?

Happy Thanksgiving Day to my Canadian friends! I never learned about your holiday in school, you’ll be less than pleased to know. It wasn’t mentioned even one time. But I do wish you all a lovely holiday and are thankful you are my friends (and relatives-in-law). In-law. What a funny term. I guess it means because of the legal tie of marriage. Nope, not going on that tangent today.

Going on another tangent–or back to last Thursday, maybe. Does the world look the same to you every day? At different times of the day? In different weather?

Maybe it does to some people. I suspect so because I can go for periods when colors and atmosphere seem the same day after day. So there have got to be people who are like this–the same–all the time.

But eventually my mood changes. I get a certain phone call and both light and color shift. Or a cloud slides over the sun and boom I’m in a funk. Β The day had been clear primary colors with defined shapes and changes to muddy haze.

Sometimes actual changes in the environment create that shift, but sometimes it’s only how I view it.

After last week’s post about the mountain, I started thinking more about this phenomenon. In part, it was because of the wide variety of emotional response to the mountain photo I posted. Sammy mentioned mood swings because of the changing light. Jill said the photo made her feel lonesome and Adrienne and Andrea felt melancholy (although Andrea saw some hope, too). S.K. noticed that serene and lonely sometimes go hand in hand. Carrie opted for hopeful, while Jean said it was subdued but thoughtful. Jennifer noted the mountains seemed pensive. The photo made Joey sad because she doesn’t like that kind of desert landscape. Dianne and Mary Ann thought the photo image was intriguing. Shel cracked me up by titling it “Seeking Sunshine.” Derrick voted for reflective. Lostandfoundbooks said it is zenlike and hypnotic. It made Rudri feel meditative. Β Carol could feel its “silent power” and thought it was inspirational. Merril and Dianne and Robin saw an ancient bird god in the photo, on top of all that. Vivachange77 (affectionately known by me as Viv) thinks the mountains are slumbering and dreaming. Kath saw her happy place! Theresa saw home.

I think my word for that mountain photo would be unsettled. And I hate that feeling. I feel it too often and it’s akin to anxiety, but not the same. Maybe I can just never get used to the southwest or the desert landscape. I crave gently rolling hills, green cornfields, and the woods (oops, a Little Red reference? haha).

I’m starting to wonder if this change of mood that alters my perception of the world around me has an effect on my writing. Does that muddier view deepen or make more complex a poem or story?

What if a writer approaches a piece in several different moods?! Does it makes the story or poem richer or does it dilute it?

42 Comments

Filed under #AmWriting, Nonfiction, Writing

42 responses to “What Color is My World?

  1. While I thought the photo had a sunny side, I couldn’t live there or want to be there. I’m a east coast girl that needs luscious vegetation (read weeds) to feel at home. Unsettled is a good word for those days when something is just a little off. Most of the time I can’t put my finger on what it’s all about. Sometimes I love a rainy day and sometimes not but I’m sure the environment has something to do with it. Long winters make me crazy.

  2. I’m a firm believer that our mood can alter how we perceive our surroundings, Luanne. I do find that my mood, and what’s going on in my life has a direct impact on my writing. This is why I often listen to music while writing, it has a profound effect on my mood.

    • That’s a good way to tinker with your mood. Of course I can’t focus on writing with music on because then I’m off in the music ;). Or singing. (Which you don’t want to hear).

  3. Like Jill, mood makes a huge difference in my writing. Stress is a big motivator for my writing at work, but too often leaves me unable to write for myself.

  4. I’m with you and the other commenters: mood can affect my writing. When I go back and reread some of my blog posts, I can tell my mood at the time. I try not to let it influence my novel writing so that my voice is consistent throughout, but I’m sure sometimes it plays in.

    • Wow, is it from the way the post is written or your memory of writing it? I can’t imagine being able to “read” my writing like that! Yes, I wonder about that with a full length book. I’ve been (not)working on my memoir so long I wonder just how many moods are trapped inside of it!

  5. I didn’t know about Thanksgiving in Canada until I started blogging…how bad is that? And I had an uncle and aunt live in BC for over 20 years, a long time again, but yikes. And darn, how did I miss your photo? Going back now to look…but reading here I agree with both Jill (music just the same, although I listen to it before I write while out walking to set me up while writing in quiet) and with Elyse. If I’m stressed or worried or something upsetting happens, it totally zaps me and I can’t write. There have been times when I can’t blog or anything when I feel like that and have hinted at it sometimes in posts. Interestingly, it’s at those times when I pour out words in a poem. Now I’m not saying my poems are much cop, but I have posted them on my blog when I’ve wanted to share my thoughts, as it was the most honest thing I could do at that time, but at some of those times I’ve felt absolutely wretched. Our surroundings profoundly affect us, no doubt about it. I love the wild of the Californian mountains and vastness of the ‘big sky’, but like you Luanne, I’m a woods, country fields and rolling green hills girl…that is where I live and where my mood feeds my writing πŸ™‚ xo

    • Sherri, I’m sorry you have had such issues with feeling that way, but I so get it. Sometimes I feel beaten down by . . . sunshine because there is just so much of it here! You are so blessed to live where you feel most comfortable. I do think I am almost literally a fish out of water. I grew up around many lakes and very close to rural countryside. It was all there for the “taking.” Now I crave it. But it is nice to walk outside in a sleeveless top in the winter, I will say that.

  6. I am a firm believer in one’s mood creating a perceptual vigilance: “I feel; therefore, I see.” The other morning it was cloudy here, but the colors of trees were gorgeous. I called it a gorgeous day, but in another mood I might have called it a gloomy day.

    • WJ, that is particularly well put. I love what you’re saying because I can so well imagine it. It kind of proves for me that our viewpoint is what casts our environment in a certain “light.”

  7. We Canadians used to joke about how little the Americans knew about us. One of the standard ones was Americans not even knowing that Canada exists and when it was mentioned, they would say, “Canada? What state’s that in?” I guess we’ve just come to accept that that’s how it is. No hard feelings.
    I agree about the colours. The various samples you gave at the end of the post definitely each invoke different feelings.

    • LOL. It’s so true. Americans can be so dismissive of Canada. Until we are not up for a gold-silver-bronze and we want the Canadians to take it home for “us.” hahahaha
      I think they invoke different feelings, too. It’s so odd. And it makes me wonder how we are playing with our perceptions with all the photoshopping and filtering we’re doing with our photographs!

  8. I’m a blue sky and seaside girl. But then, you knew that didn’t you? πŸ™‚ Grey skies depress the hell out of me.

    • Yes, that’s pretty obvious from your blog!!! I love the seaside, too. I’m a Cancer, a water sign, so I crave water. I think I instilled this love in my kids. Both kids have apartments overlooking the ocean–one on the west coast and one on the east. They would rather be in teeny hotel room sized places with an ocean view than a spacious apartment without.

  9. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes, Luanne. I do think that our writing is influenced by our moods. How can it be otherwise for writing is being in touch with our emotions. And by the various comments on your mountain post it’s obvious that perception and our state of being plays a role in interpretation. Now if our moods make the piece richer or dilute it, I think that it really depends on who’s reading it. Just go on any book on Amazon – take a bestseller- and you’re bound to see people love it and others find it a waste of time. The bottom line is: Do you love what you write? ❀

    • Carol, hubby got off the phone with one of his Canadian cousins yesterday. I said, “Did you remember to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving?” Him: “Oops.” Sigh.
      So in other words moods alter emotions and emotions inform our writing? Such a good point about loving what you write. This is why I couldn’t write for an employer or try to write a “bestseller.” What would be the fun in not just going for what I love to write?

  10. When I saw the title of this post the first thing I thought was ‘The colour of Luanne’s world to me is sunshine’. Which is odd because ‘sunshine’ isn’t actually a colour πŸ˜‰ I think I’m in an odd mood today because I haven’t turned on my music yet, but for some reason you actually do remind me of sunshine :).

    I totally agree with the other comments here that mood really has an effect on writing. I write poetry when I am at the lowest of the low and it’s a great equalizer πŸ˜€

    • Dianne, that is such a sweet thing to say! Sometimes I get too much sunshine here in Arizona πŸ˜‰ but I certainly would rather have more blue skies and sunshine than gloom!!! I don’t know if it’s strange though to think of sunshine as a color because when I think of the word I see color more than anything else. And yet it’s not a color like “yellow.”
      How interesting that you and Sherri both write poetry when you’re low. I wonder what process is at work for that to “work.”

  11. I think mood does affect the work, BUT sometimes when I write I realize I was not aware of my mood at all, until i started writing. Then other times I realize through writing that I was not in the mood I thought I was in!

  12. I had to sleep on this question!
    First, I find that my relationship with nature is far from simple when it comes to mood. It’s a matter sometimes of feeling lifted/downed by the natural world. But, more often, I find comfort in feeling that nature’s mood and mine are in sync so if I’m down and the sun is blazing, it can feel like being at odds with everything.
    As for writing in different moods, I think the same sort of complexity applies. Writing, like nature, can be very therapeutic but I have huge issues with the cognitive dissonance that can occur when writing publicly and not feeling able to reflect how I’m truly feeling.

    • Jean, so it’s the disconnect between your mood and nature. I think your right. sometimes I get mad or depressed at a sunny day and maybe it’s because it doesn’t reflect how I feel.
      I wonder if I ever try to reflect how I’m truly feeling, or have I given up and just try my best and leave it at that? Maybe I need to work harder at it. You are making me think so!!!

  13. Very complex and interesting post, Luanne. Something I need to think about. I imagine that writing something in different moods could go either way. But if someone is working on a piece for a long time–a novel, a play, or even a painting or symphony–then most likely that person would be working on it in different moods.

    Sometimes when I’m writing, it changes my mood–especially when I write a blog post (not so much with test writing.) πŸ™‚

    As far as nature, well, I’ve lived in this house for close to thirty years, and this is where I’ve done most of my writing. I definitely have less energy to go out in the winter though when it’s dark and dreary, and I feel like I should be in bed by about 5 PM.

    • Merril, re your first paragraph: or do we sometimes turn away from writing when our mood doesn’t match that long project?? I feel as if sometimes I do that. As a side note, I am finding it difficult to get back to my memoir about my father now that he is gone. I have different feelings, etc.
      Re your 2nd paragraph, that might be similar to what mareymercy says above.
      When I was a kid I loved when it turned dark out. It seemed that it was the time the house was buzzing, the kitchen ready to give up its yummies, all that. But as I got older I felt as you describe here. Living now in Arizona instead of Michigan it’s different. It doesn’t feel as if the world is going to bed so early, but it’s a horrific time to drive because a very strong sun shines right into your eyes.

  14. The many colored houses in the pictures have made the very gray day we’re having into a rainbow for me. My moods can change in a single moment when something lifts my spirits like your pictures. A small gesture that connects me to another person does wonders. ❀

    • Oh, I like that they cheered you up! Putting a pretty filter on a gray day!! I so agree with you about a small connecting gesture shifting the mood to the positive!

  15. For me the issues I’m thinking about change the shape of my novels, but instead of my mood influencing my stories the characters’ moods influence my own.

    Part of the intrigue in writing for me is tapping into other people’s worlds–physical and mental. I love visiting my old characters because I feel like I’m sitting on their couch, smelling their food cooking and knowing them so intimately.(like cousins or grandparents)

    There have been a few times while editing that I was depressed for days. I realized I was carrying a character’s depression! My life was actually quite sunny at the time. πŸ™‚

    These posts and the comments are so interesting.

  16. I do think stories flow when you are in the mood of the story. If it is a gloomy story, sad and haunting memories can utilize a depressed mood. Like feeding the “fodder of the book’s tone, Luanne. Just my opinion! πŸ™‚

  17. Mood–what a wonderful topic for a post. Sometimes when I read an old piece of my writing, I marvel at the mood I was in when I wrote it, one I usually don’t remember. I think it’s nice to be reminded that we shift and change and our facets often glimmer, sometimes only when we get far enough away to see them.

  18. Sorry I missed the post with the mountain photo. I’m not sure how I would have responded. I think the landscape is beautiful but stark. I love clouds but the shadows might make me feel eclipsed. My problem is I love various landscapes: snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, thick autumn forests, even coastlines. My husband and I used to have a fantasy of being able to live in various parts of the country, enjoying for a few months at a time the seasons and landscapes particular to that area of the country. Fantasy only because I can’t imagine dragging along three cats for the life of an itinerant and, well, $$ (or lack thereof). But, like you, my mood can be dictated by whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside. A drizzly, gray day might be fun at first (perfect excuse to curl up with book and cat and read the afternoon away), but too many drizzly, gray days can make me feel depressed. I find mountains and desert landscapes beautiful but they do make me feel small, reminding me of my own speck of an existence.

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