The predominant thought in everyone’s mind right now is how to bring joy to the ones we love. To know that we’re all operating with this guiding motivation should surely make us feel better as we head out into the frigid streets, foregoing the comfort of a roaring fire and the tin of Quality Street, cramming ourselves inside department stores’ revolving doors with a bunch of frenzied shoppers, and getting clobbered by the old dear who’s clearing out the three-pack argyll socks display. If all her Christmas shopping happens to take place not only in the same store but on the same shelf, that’s your tough luck.
Do you want to feel the firmness of her knuckle duster brolly? Well, then.
But, fear not, I am here to make it easier for you. And injury-free.
If joy could be represented in an object, and a humble object at that, this would be it. No need to go down the fancy shops, nor even into town so no scrabbling about for bus fare. It requires no dipping into the kids’ college fund nor stashing in the attic until Christmas because of its outsize proportions. Easily available, transportable, hidden, it transcends all languages and nationalities, and provides a return to our childhood to boot.
I hereby present to you the humble coloring book…
Ah yes, it’s all coming back, isn’t it? That what I call a Christmas feeling. (I will be using the US spelling, ‘color’, even though that’s not reminiscent of my childhood Christmases, because my computer is set for US spelling and I’m afraid they might come and take away my Green Card.)
I remember holding the wrapped package in my hand, and already knowing its contents because it was the same as I got last year and the year before that. The bulk of it predicted hours of uninterrupted happiness. I can feel the sensation of opening the stiff cover and the roughness of the ecru pages against my fingers, studying each carefully outlined design, each page offering a different scene.
The book whispers, “We know drawing is the difficult part so we’ve taken care of that. We’re turning it over to you for the fun bit! Have at it, go color!”
Now, if you want to blow someone’s mind completely, because too much joy is not to be fooled with, sshhhhh here’s what you do…
Get a set of markers and wrap them separately!
Mind, that’s a double shot of joy so they’ll be woozy. But it is Christmas, after all. While the mind races over the possibilities of color combinations, the heart quickens and the blood rushes through the veins at the sight of the fanlike arrangement of rainbow hues with their tidy little caps.
I will never leave you hatless so that you go dry.
The promise of that first colored mark can be paralyzing. Which color to start with? The moments of lip biting, tongue sticking out the corner of mouth a sign of deep concentration. Whatever happens, must not blot the smooth page… The head grows light as the color spreads ever so slightly but luckily does not leak over the edge. Then there’s the satisfaction of applying wide swooshes of color in the big inland spaces far from the borders, the steadying breath before attempting the enclosed areas. Hours pass. No one calls your name because they know you’re not to be disturbed.Oh, but you think this is child’s play, do you?
Bill Murray would not agree…
And be careful of drool when coloring this one…
Cue drunken innuendo involving Ryan’s red felt tip, his Magic Marker, his thick nib and leaky ink. Oh, he can color outside your lines anytime, can he?
See, it’s just like kindergarten but with margaritas! What joy!
Of course my novel, which is now available, is an extremely colorful book. You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.