this is not a review: ‘bluets’, by maggie nelson


Ninety-five pages containing 240 vignettes on the colour blue.

And life.

Maggie Nelson’s Bluets is one of those rare gems not only for the precision of her writing… there is nothing that shouldn’t be there… but for discussions of blue in literature, art and song, for feelings on love and loss and grief, the pleasure of learning that bowerbirds collect only blue things… bus tickets, buttons, other birds’ feathers.

Nelson writes about blue without writing about blue, but using it to tap into emotions and connections that exist everywhere.

A deceivingly clever little book.


“I have been trying, for some time now, to find dignity in my loneliness. I have been finding this hard to do… It is easier, of course, to find dignity in ones’ solitude. Loneliness is solitude with a problem.”

“I have enjoyed telling people that I am writing a book about blue without actually doing it. Mostly what happens in such cases is that people give you stories or leads or gifts,f and then you can play with these things instead of with words. Over the past decade I have been given blue inks, paintings, postcards, dyes, bracelets, rocks, precious stones, watercolours, pigments, paperweights, goblets, and candies. I have been introduced to a man who had one of his front teeth replaced with lapis lazuli, solely because he loved the stoen, and to another who worships blue so devoutly tht he refuses to eat blue food and grows only blue and white flowers in his garen, which surrounds the blue ex-cathedral in which he lives…”

“Why blue? People ask me this question often. I never know how to respond We don’t get to chose what or whom we love, I want to say. We just don’t get to choose.”


If, like me, you love colours… here’s some.

Including blue.



a short history of peacock blue

FIRST DISCOVERED:  among the Laurentien pencil crayons purchased at Towers Department store. A momentous occasion after years of using generic brands with no pep and loose tips that refused to be sharpened easily.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT? Oh yes. Peacock Blue was head and shoulders above the other colours from the very start. Although Peacock Green and the most yellowy yellow were close behind. (The history of either or both, available on request.)

THE ROLE IT PLAYED: Not insignificant insofar as my choice of fabric for the Grade Seven HomeEc fashion show for which I made a stiff yet somehow baggy pair of peacock blue elastic waist pants (flood length because I ran out of material) and a matching checkered tunic, also stiffly A-line (peacock blue and white with a big Peter Pan collar) made even worse (hard to imagine, I know) with clunky white patent leather shoes and the fact that I went on stage right after Lisa Kiss who took modelling classes. Modelling classes. And who wore a tiny pink mini skirt and a pastel print popcorn blouse. Because having a name like Lisa Kiss was not already perfect enough…

Also used as eyeliner at some point. (the How To: leave for school naked-faced like a good girl then a few blocks along, near the mailbox, set down your binder, unzip your pencil-case, find your mirror and your Peacock Blue and lick the end. Apply to inner eye.)  Lead?? What lead?

Tried it as a nail colour. Didn’t work.


Also this (click).

And a thousand more colours HERE.