Yellow – All That is Gold (Her First Letter to Kate)

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost…
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Yellow is two sided, with shades of envy and heresy at odds with happiness, sunshine, optimism, and wealth. But it is undoubtedly the brighter associations that we think of first and last, just as Tolkien’s poem is ultimately one of hope.

I am reminded of endless possibilities, of late afternoons when the light thickens to a coat of gold, of delightful moments from my childhood and of moments I cannot anticipate. When I see the sun hit a window pane at just the right angle, and I long to be outside, it is only a matter of seconds before my mind follows that sunbeam into someplace and somewhen imaginary.

The degree to which I relate time to this colour surprised me at first; yellow takes me through the past’s nostalgia and the future’s hopes, through bygone glories and sunny fields to come. And when I think of writing in general I see yellow, or gold, or sunshine – whichever you like best – and it must be because writing is not bound by time, and its potential can never be exhausted.

Although I might see individual works in other colours, here is an excerpt from one project which is undoubtedly yellow. We are on an alternate Earth of the 1940’s, with a hint of steampunk gold and ridiculous science. We are invading the letters of one G. C. Walker to her cousin, whose relationship is inspired by some golden trinkets from my own childhood.

We are in England for now, but the West awaits. And I am determined to write in a submersible like the one above, because an airship alone is not enough.


Dearest Kate,

Please, please write me back. I’m sorry about that gaffe in front of your beau, my mouth runs away with me whenever things are the least bit awkward, but I promise I’ll never mention the Irish and fruit punch in the same sentence again.
I’ve continued despondent since embarrassing you, and since Royarley published his second treatise asserting that the world is flat after all – in the latter case, I don’t know why I’ve been so affected. Despite being a student of geography I don’t travel anywhere or see anything, so the real facts shouldn’t bother me. Either I am having some queer psychic reaction to the news, since a flat world never seems quite right no matter how someone puts it, or the monthlies will be here soon.
Well, they will definitely be here soon. I wish I could turn back a few years, and look forward to sleeping with you and Irene in our grandparents’ garret. Then we could raid the kitchen in the middle of the night for headache pills, and spend hours talking so that I would forget that my lower half had gone to battle and come off the worse for it. We would certainly have candy. I still think that the surge in pimples afterwards was worth it.
Oh, this is apropos; in lecture the other day I heard some boys pooh-poohing the monthly rigours of being a female, and the poor girl with them was just sort of nodding along weakly. If you had been with me I’m sure we would have had great fun attacking them! They clearly had no idea how we suffer the removal of all sorts of junk that (as supposedly upright, unmarried citizens) we didn’t want in the first place, and that junk is robbing us of a great deal of iron in the meantime. Girls who hate their beef must curse the heavens for five days a month.
Besides, during that time of trial we are temporarily fatter and that should be enough to upset anybody’s chair.
Wouldn’t it be good if they opened this letter for the censor?
Anyway, I am almost a Master of (dubious) Arts, and even though I have that job waiting I have no idea what I’m going to do. That is, I know I’m going to be working in that particular office without a window, but I don’t know what I’m going to do. There seem to be a million things I would like to do, only I can’t pin them down.
Aside from hearing nothing from you, perhaps I should say my current gloom is due to said uncertainty about the future – it would show my character to greater advantage than crying over a flat Earth or a spot of blood. But I think we both know that as long as I have books, Kate, and as long as you forgive me, I’ll be dilatory about the future. And about work of all sorts. Never mind that my very last exams are next week!

Yours always,

PS. I really am sorry, please write me back soon. I hope Everett doesn’t hate me.

38 thoughts on “Yellow – All That is Gold (Her First Letter to Kate)

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