Tag Archives: red


Color runs through our lives in many ways– it’s how we pick out the ripest strawberries and cherries, it’s how we put together an outfit, it sets a mood and conveys symbolism. Red is passion and blood, white is purity, blue is serenity or even depression.

Colors are human. We see only a tiny range of electromagnetic waves, and the colors we see depend upon the frequency of that light. The colors of the world are there because our brains and eyes interpret them into the tints we see. Our brains give us that beauty.

Human history is full of color. Painters strive for vibrant shades that withstand the degradation of time. We use colors in food, makeup and clothes. Often, though, we don’t consider the origins of color, and how we obtained these colors throughout history. Many were toxic, such as lead white and red cinnabar (a combination of mercury and sulfur). They chemicals were so valuable and prized that people used them even for makeup. Today, we still use eyeshadow and cherry sodas with crushed bugs, which while slightly icky, is vastly safer.

Although we have many more synthetic compounds and colors, these old colors are still sometimes the best. The titanium white we use today is more opaque and less lustrous than lead white, and some suggest it may not hold up as well over time. Red cinnabar used in Roman art retains its color 20 centuries later. In the last two centuries, we have discovered a whole new range of color compounds with the advent of chemistry and globalization. But our goals are always the same, to stimulate the part of our brain that sees color in wiggles of light.


Writing prompt: Red

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Red” (this prompt was inspired by my science fiction group’s monthly theme. Red was chosen relating to February and Valentine’s Day, but we know there are other themes red suits as well.)

I woke to fresh snowfall outside my window, but it wasn’t the glittering field of white that caught my eye, it was the speckles of red in the white. I woke up and pulled on my robe and slippers and blundered into the brilliant glare. There in the snow, not thirty feet from my house, I found the red in the snow. It was clearly blood, and a lot of it. I felt a cold that had nothing to do with the snow. I kicked at the snow. Perhaps, somewhere, there was a clue to what had happened in the field, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to touch the sullied snow.

My dog, Clover, ran out from the house, through the door I’d left standing wide open. He bounded over, initially happy to see me, but after a moment concerned himself with the patch of snow as well. He didn’t have my compunctions about the blemished snow, and instead buried his face into it, seeking the heart of the problem.

He brought his face up, smeared with red and frost. And in his mouth was a pendant, with the sign of a saint I didn’t know.

“Good job, boy!” I said, and Clover dropped the chain in my hand, and proceeded to kiss me with his scarlet smeared mouth. I screamed and ran back into the house, someone or something’s sticky blood all over my hands. Clover cocked his head to the side and followed behind me. I washed my hands and then I went to the computer to look up this saint.