Posts tagged with "color" - Faerye Net 2008-07-09T14:12:56+00:00 Felicity Shoulders The potential mystery of confederate gray 2008-07-09T14:12:56+00:00 2008-07-09T14:14:22+00:00 <p>In yesterday&#8217;s post <a href="" target="links">on the spelling of &#8216;grey&#8217;</a> (even I can&#8217;t believe the things I talk about sometimes) I was going to mention how I finally cemented that &#8216;gray&#8217; was the US spelling only by calling to mind the wrapper on my Crayola confederate gray crayon.</p> <p>I searched for a picture of this crayon, thinking that, such is the capacity of the internet for nostalgia and even indignation over necessary change that there was a chance someone would have snapped a picture of a surviving crayon. Behold, I could find no picture, and almost no mention of the thing (and the comments at the free republic aren&#8217;t the most reliable source.) Finally I looked at the <a href="" target="links">Crayola history of crayon colors</a> and discovered it was not listed. Other changes, like the change of Indian red (after a colorful soil in India) to chestnut? Yes. &#8220;Flesh&#8221; to &#8220;peach&#8221;? Certainly. But the axing of confederate gray? Nowhere to be found. Wikipedia, where lost information goes to find itself, does not mention it either.</p> <p>Now, I suppose one could impugn the honesty of the Crayola company, but I find it hard to imagine that they would be more ashamed of having &#8216;confederate&#8217; on a pretty genuinely confederate-uniform-colored crayon than of thinking all skin was peach-colored. Was there ever a &#8220;confederate gray&#8221; crayon? I had hazy memories of it being canceled amid a contest to name new colors. I&#8217;m sure the contest happened, but is this just the mutability of memory? Is &#8220;confederate gray&#8221; an urban myth that attached itself to my strangely capacious Crayola memory space?</p> <p>Does anyone else remember this crayon?</p> grey and gray 2008-07-08T11:27:48+00:00 2008-07-08T11:27:48+00:00 <p>In my third semester in the <span class="caps">MFA</span>, I got a marginal note from my advisor: &#8220;grey is Engl. spelling &#8211; gray is U.S. spelling&#8221;. On the next page, he circled &#8216;gray&#8217; (pushing consistency), and by the end of that semester I had added &#8220;find/replace grey&#8221; to the list of final touches I must put on a story before sending it out.</p> <p>I actually remember having trouble with this as a child. We largely learn to spell by reading, or at least I did, and massive numbers of the books I read as a child were British. I remember being admonished for writing &#8216;colour&#8217; and &#8216;flavour&#8217; as a first- or second-grader, and my indignation at the unfairness. It was in books! How could it be wrong if it was spelled that way <em>in books</em>? But some variations between British and American English are further under the radar than &#8216;glamour&#8217; and &#8216;theatre&#8217;. Enforcement of &#8216;gray&#8217; was not widespread, and I wasn&#8217;t sure which I should use. I remember misspelling my grandmother&#8217;s name as &#8216;Vey&#8217; instead of &#8216;Vay&#8217; &#8211; I don&#8217;t think my parents realized it, but that was because of &#8216;grey&#8217;.</p> <p>Now that I realize the distinction, it&#8217;s interesting to see that, while I obviously prefer &#8216;grey&#8217;, I use both. Search finds 69 non-Grey City hits for &#8216;grey&#8217;, 31 non-name hits for &#8216;gray&#8217; just on this site. Heck, I even spell Marvel Girl&#8217;s secret identity both ways. I&#8217;m hemorrhaging geek-cred while we speak. At any rate, I think I use the word &#8216;grey&#8217; for more subtle or numinous hues and connotations, whereas I reach for the American &#8216;gray&#8217; for flatter, darker tones. Zombies are gray. <a href="" target="links">Skies over oceans</a> are grey. No wonder I&#8217;ve been using the latter extensively <a href="" target="links">in my thesis</a>. One wonders what other linguistic quirks I will discover in myself as I turn a disciplined eye to my writing!</p>