The Blue Challenge 16Nov2022

In late October, The Collectif hosted our 3rd The Write Thing, an evening of readings by member writers. One segment – a challenge on the topic of BLUE – received these eight responses. We present them in the same order as they first were performed. Accompanying photos are courtesy of Barb Lehtiniemi, also one of the writers.

The Full Spectrum by Barbara Lehtiniemi

I'm feeling a bit blue
I've got the blues
I'm singing the blues
The black dogs of depression are hounding me
I'm falling into a black bit of despair

His face was as black as thunder
He turned red with anger
He was purple with rage

I blush to say it,
But when my friend got a plum job
I was green with envy

But, every cloud has a silver lining
Thars gold in them-thar hills!

You yellow-livered coward
(pew! pew!)

Now things are starting to look rosy
I'm in the pink!

That only leaves one question:  Where does that leave orange?

The blue challenge part I by Isabelle Utovac

The sky the sea both can be

My mood my mind both can blind

A purity and all those strengths

An obscurity and going to lengths

An ancient ornamentation of busy lines and patterns


The blue challenge part II

I want to tell you how good my coffee is, my third cup

However, I was afraid I wouldn't shut up

I could start to ramble about each other's uniqueness

And really segue into a sort of bleakness

Trying to turn it into art that I can offer

Equating my feelings with that of a philosopher

A window into melancholy

Only to realize, it too, is mostly folly

I want to tell you how good my walk is, my second mile

I even dress up, out on the town, in style

I feel my muscles, my body, my age

Now at its next stage

Although I have kept my hair ridiculously youthful and vintage, like a Bettie Page

Altogether I feel my mood, my mind, my soul, is almost a sage

Having an eagerness to surprise,

I am usually happy and sometimes wise

It may appear that these sentiments are full throttle

But as I recite this, they are hidden away, like wine in a corked bottle

Then poured out for you, like the happiness of Aristotle
Blue by Brenda Kennedy

You'll find blue between purple and green on the colour wheel
 Certain blues hold other colours. Add a little yellow and you might get turquoise  
 
But what of the blue itself?
 Is it a true blue? Is it steadfast? Will it fade when I wash it and will it quit when the going gets tough?

Which blue am I searching for?
 Ultramarine- the most expensive blue originally from lapis lazuli and known to impoverish artists 
 the Cobalt blue of  a willow-patterned shard found in my garden
Cerulean blue's multitude of shades describing the sky on any given day
 Or the deep midnight magic of Prussian blue

All look similar when squeezed from a tube 
but it takes a soupcon of  white to show us their true colours
Novel excerpt from Lynne Ayers. This is from my nearing completion historical fiction novel incorporating key points in the life of my great grandmother.  In this scene three middle-aged women, who have known each other since they were young girls, are philosophizing over tea. 

“I never wanted my mother’s life,” said Blanche. “I understood my father. All he wanted was for me to be the best I could be—be all that you can be and do all that you can do; he’s said that to me my entire life. My mother would say it is as it is, making everything seem hopeless, such a defeatist attitude.”

“Or just accepting. There’s something to be said for acceptance,” said Bea. “Without it, we become bitter.”

Blanche nodded in acknowledgement but continued. “I think truth is the most important thing—making choices, determining our beliefs, and holding the course. Achieving that speaks to our personal truth,” said Blanche.

“Personal truth . . . I don’t understand what you mean,” said Augusta.

“Making conscious decisions about our course in life. Recognising and learning from our actions, our gestures, our kindnesses and transgressions.”

“I’ve never made hard decisions,” said Augusta. “But I thought about what you said once, Blanche, about making choices and I recognised times when I made unconscious choices, staying with the status quo because I was comfortable. I thought I drifted into my life, but I realised making no choice is a choice too.”

“We live our truth every day,” said Blanche. “It’s going on all the time, consciously or unconsciously. Making choices in here,” she tapped her head, “and hopefully in here.” She put her hand on her heart. “We extrapolate, internalise, perhaps regret our experiences or actions . . . hopefully modify our course, face the outcomes of our choices.”

“But sometimes people don’t act because they’re immobilised,” said Bea. “What some see as opportunity, others might fear. We respond differently, yet we’re all products of the times in which we live. We could all have the same experience yet internalise it differently. Is my blue your blue?”

“Bea! That’s frightening,” said Augusta. “It makes me feel isolated and utterly alone.”
Blue. Period. An idiom-manic screed by Yvonne Callaway

Once in a blue moon I’m blue. 
A bolt from the blue and I’m in a blue funk. 

I’ve tried therapy— I believe in it, 
Bit of a bluestocking that way. 
I’ll talk a blue streak about feelings and won’t blue pencil my words. 

Damn it to blue blazes, the mouth cures! 
Talking, yes: also . . . eating. 

When I’ve been screwed, blued, & tattooed 
I’ll head to a blue-ribbon eatery, 
Chow down on the blue-plate special and feel . . .  better. 

Having a blue fit due to some blue-eyed lover
Suffering the female equivalent of blue balls 
Despite cajoling till I’m blue in the face, well . . . 

Relationships, are they worth it? 

Nah, stay solo and be in the pink.	
Blue by Bobi Leutschaft Poitras

When I knew you
We were young
And so in love
Your eyes were as blue
As the morning sky
You were so cool
Everyone wanted to be near you
I was jealous
Of every person
Who invaded our space
But they just wanted
To feel your breath
Like I did
We laughed so much
But in the end
We cried more often
And that was the start
Of the finish
We were young
When I knew you
And your eyes were so blue
Once by Bobi Leutschaft Poitras, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60″
Blue: My Meditation Poem by Jessica MacLeod



There is blue between the treetops

Blue beyond and above

There is blue between the passing clouds

Blue beside and around


There is blue that is clean

Blue of starting fresh

There is blue of breathing in

A clear sky awash with possibility



There is blue that shows us windows

Cerulean spaces for peeking through

There is blue of gaps amid the bustle

And rustle of restless yellow leaves



There is blue that runs and plays

Blue that makes us search

There is blue within our stillness

Blue that lives like truth
BLUE IS..... by Janet Harris Timms

Brilliant blue is the cloudless sky
 as the leaves float gently down,
Settling here and there to lie
 cloaking Mother Earth in her Autumn   
 gown.

Blue is the light of my coffee machine 
 that shows me the time late at night,
When I creep to the kitchen, unheard,   unseen. 
It really is very bright!

Blue are the flowers that grow by the   pond,
Wild and free, in the grass.
Of these, I am particularly fond,
Admiring them each time I pass. 

Blue is my heart when my granddaughter   cries,
"It's time to go home, " they say.
We comfort each other and say our   goodbyes. 
"I love you,  Grandma.  I had so much fun today!"

So now I'll quit while I'm ahead,
  And give someone else a go.
I'd really much rather listen instead.
As they say, "Let's get on with the show!"

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