On the Theme of Yellow

Author: Hugh Raggett

A writer sat in a quiet corner, pencil twirling between their fingers. Their eyes mechanically read and re-read a short list of points scribbled across a sheet ripped from one of their many notebooks. Above the list was the title, Yellow. The points beneath read, 

-yellow objects: taxi (not in NL), yellow vest (too political)

-associated tastes/smells: lemon/citrus? ginger?

-symbolic meanings: 

The pencil hadn’t touched the paper in nearly half an hour and the writer was getting impatient. Just as they began considering tearing the sheet into pieces, the writer was almost blinded as sunlight tumbled through the little window above their desk (the only source of light in the writing room). They looked up through the window to see the morning’s grey clouds clearing, dark dreariness replaced with bright radiance. The sudden intensity of the sky’s blue stood out to the writer. They glanced down at their now glowing list of notes, looked back up and smiled. “Maybe,” they thought, “if I go out for a walk in this sunlight I’ll come across something I can write about. Something with all the essence, flavour and meaning of the colour yellow!”


Stepping out into the young warmth, they decided to head to the forest at the end of their street, where fallen autumn leaves carpeted well-trodden dirt paths. Wandering aimlessly, they kicked away leaves every few steps, revealing the glistening wet brown underneath. When suddenly a dog yelped from an uncertain location in the trees ahead of them, the writer froze. The sound reminded them of a local dog that had bitten them as a child (a golden retriever, to be precise). With a familiar shudder, they scanned their surroundings for a path that would take them as far as possible from the hound and headed down it – out of the forest and into a field of sunflowers. Forgetting their panic, the writer stopped to admire the view. Alone in the sea of monochrome, a small poppy caught their attention. Despite its size, this flower’s colour – a piercing red the writer rarely saw in nature – was striking. “Red,” thought the writer, “is a colour I’d write about. A colour that stands out against any other colour. The colour of blood, passion, revolution! A colour that means something wherever it’s put.” Remembering their task, they sighed. “Yellow… yellow… I have nothing to say about yellow. I feel nothing when I think of the colour yellow. I could write about any other colour! Why in the world did it have to be yellow?”


Back at home, the writer decided to do some schoolwork, hoping to find unexpected inspiration. They played an album in the background – Parachutes by Coldplay, a childhood favourite too familiar to be distracting. They read and took notes for the next day’s lecture on political philosophies. The writer became frustrated upon reaching a chapter about the relationship between liberalism and right-libertarian economics  – ideologies the writer felt disagreeably predisposed towards – and gave up taking notes. Wanting silence now, they turned off the music just as track four, Sparks, was coming to an end. They left the writing room sulking and plodded into the kitchen for a drink. All they had in their fridge was a carton of orange juice, so they poured themselves some and stared cross-eyed into the bottom of the glass as they drank. With their vision bathed in brightness and their palate washed with the fresh tang of the juice, it struck them: “This is yellow!” They set down the glass and smiled to themselves. “The flavour… it’s essenceorange juice is yellow!” Then they sighed. “But it is also orange juice.”




This article is part of our competition with as theme “yellow”.

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