The Frustration Of Staying Silent (Or What If You Could See The Colour, And Nobody Else Could?)

(The Kickstarting Creativity prompt: You are transported to an alternate reality, where you are the only one that has ever experienced colour. This fact is either your salvation or your doom.)

This prompt has given me the bones for a short story, which is really exciting, because I seldom have short story ideas. I told The Dude, and he said “Gruesome, but interesting.” But I need time to do the idea justice. So you get my slightly more frustrated rant instead.

Because really, if you were suddenly living in a world where you had either seen colour and nobody else had, or could still see colour and nobody else had or could, your experience would be so vastly different as to be indescribable. Unrelatable. How could the others even begin to get a handle on your experience? And once you have seen colour, it is impossible to unsee the colour. So even if you pretend you can’t see the colour, it will still affect you. You will still dream about the colour.

Here’s the brutal truth. If you were that different to everybody else, you would not be able to live with them, as one of them. You would be worshipped as a god, or despised as a lunatic. That’s if you told them. So if you had your wits about you, you would keep silent. You would do your best to hide the fact that you see the world so differently. And the amount of effort and energy that takes…  Soon you would be in a situation where you love the colour, because the colour is so beautiful, but you hate that you are the only one that can see it. And then it’s a short hop to hating the colour.


I’ll be honest. This is a topic that unexpectedly hits a nerve. Because I’m different to the people around me. It’s not that I can see colour in a world where others can’t, but rather that I perceive things differently. I approach things differently. I understand things, and connect things and question things differently. I have different assumptions about life. Stupid assumptions, like we want to be better people, or that life is more than just this moment that we live in, or the fact that we can do something to make life easier for somebody else is reason enough to do it. It’s a useless talent, really. Sometimes I think it’s less than useless.

But it’s who I am. And I find ways out from under it. I realise that there is another name for this being different that I am. That I am not wrong, or inappropriate, or any of those other names that have been given me over the years. I’m just creative. But a different sort of creative. The world does not have a space for me, as I am, and that is sad. But I have found a different path – one that doesn’t require that I keep silent, but nor does it open me to ridicule.

A path strewn with words.


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