There are at least a dozen memorable lines in Amanda L. Wright’s Colours. The main thing that sticks with me is the lament (and I paraphrase) that if they had gone to war to protect the British way of life, then the war was lost long ago.
We see many Great War stories in the first person POV, but none more eloquently done; none more restrained and yet powerful. Although obviously not called World War I until later, this conflict might be the largest event in human history. Very little in our modern world isn’t touched by histories begun on the gassed battlefields of Europe. The entire world. No exceptions.
Q: Was it difficult to sustain the beautifully cynical tone that flows from start to finish?
Q: Now that time has passed, are there any parts of this story you’d change? (I see it perfect as is, but nearly all writers obsess over taking another shot at something.)
To be honest the answer to both questions is no. I felt really close to the character of Jim as I wrote it and his voice developed very quickly and consistently. He wouldn’t let me be sentimental. I think this is the only story I’ve ever written that I got to the end of and, apart from a couple of minor edits, I felt I’d said all I wanted to say as closely as I could to how I wanted to say it. I really wanted to be honest, to get inside Jim’s experience and what.it meant to him personally. I didn’t want to project 21st century ideas or assumptions onto him.
It was the first piece I ever attempted writing with a male voice and to be honest I didn’t know if I could do that credibly.or if I could convincingly and consistently get inside the head of a man from roughly one hundred years ago. I was very watchful of my 21st century self and as I was writing I was grilling every paragraph for signs of it. Jim’s character felt very vivid, very quickly though, so hopefully he managed to keep me on the right track. I felt that he’d been cast in some blockbuster story of someone else’s making, that the actual production had greatly diverged from the publicity, to the extent that he couldn’t even recognise what he’d signed up for, but keeping the real story, his own story, alive in his head was what he felt held the key to survival.
4 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Colours by Amanda L. Wright”
Thank you for your replies and I hope people will hit the link to the story.
“How do you find words for something that words were not created to describe?” The author managed to do it. Excellent.
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This was well-chosen, with Remembrance Day coming this week. WWI still cast a terrible shadow in the 1950s, when I was a child. I remember asking my mother why so many of the houses in our street were occupied by elderly ladies: she said they lost their husbands and sweethearts in the war. My grandad had been badly gassed: I remember him coughing and gasping. Mr Morton, next door, working his allotment with his one arm. I could go on. This was an appropriate remembrance piece.
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My usual nod to you!!
And as Mick says, this is so relevant due to the time of the year.
It is sad that these stories are here but it is essential that we continue to read and realise.