The Art of David Wiley | Colors Of The Roundtable-Episode 1 | Scene4 Magazine | May 2016 |

David Wiley



              News of the great upcoming Project, a 40 x 95 foot mural, spread quickly throughout the Kingdom of Color and among all members of the twelve Families who lived there. In every Family, Colors of various reputation and character were galvanized into action. Those taking an interest included some Colors of questionable quality and attitude, who came forward to promote not only themselves but other dubious Colors who were their companions. Relationships are complicated, and sometimes, just as with the species of the Conductor, quibbles can blossom into arguments. For centuries there had been numerous ongoing disputes over whether or not a particular Color belonged in one Family or another. Some distant cousins of Lady Magenta had solved this problem by hanging out much of the time with the Family of Lady Violet. And some of Lady Violet’s distant cousins often spent their time with the Family of Lady Magenta. It was a kind of Color Family exchange program. Other Colors on the cusp between two Families had adopted similar programs.

            This mural would be the biggest Project in decades, and there would be opportunities for everyone, it was only a matter of catching the Conductor’s eye. Which required access. Thus it was that little intrigues and plots began to weave their way through the fabric of the Kingdom at every level. This was an old story, but with a Project of such size even the chronic loafers and ne’erdowells were taking an interest.

            The only way a seldom-used Color, Sir Magnesium, for example, could find work was through the head of the Family, Sir Green in this case. The idea was for Sir Magnesium to persuade Sir Green to act on his behalf, and exert whatever influences he might have on the Conductor. Sir Green and all the other heads of the Families liked to assume that they had subtle powers over the Conductors, and that their magic charms could work on a Conductor even to the extent of convincing that Conductor to employ an obscure Color in a Project. Sir Green, anyway, was absolutely certain that it was through his efforts that Sir Magnesium, a nephew, had been given some work on the Projects. There were successes and failures. The Knights and Ladies of the Round Table were all plagued by their relatives, some of whom would eventually be called upon to perform, and perhaps distinguish themselves, which was a good thing for the Family in general. The twelve members of the Round Table exerted themselves continuously on behalf of their Families, often at their own expense. What they all sensed was that serving the Family was the right thing to do in the grand scheme of their crusade to save the world.

            None of the Colors of the Round Table was really sure how the power they exerted over the Conductors worked. It seemed to have something to do with producing various kinds of radiance. Catching the Conductor’s eye was easy enough, the hard part was planting in the Conductor’s mind the suggestion that some distant cousin should be put to work. Ironically, perhaps, theses attempts frequently bore fruit, after a long series of events. Some anonymous Color would inveigh upon some other little-known relative to inveigh upon another better-known member of the Family, who would inveigh upon another, etcetera, until finally the head of the Family was being asked to use his or her charms on the Conductor, and communicate to the Conductor the thought that a brilliant stroke might be achieved by using Lady Woodlice-Brown in the new Project. If it was deemed necessary to apply pressure, that was when the conspiracies, threats, bribes, seductions and blackmail began. But, with the exception of seduction, which was an important part of their work, the Colors were not naturally inclined to commit such crimes. However, having observed and worked with so many different Conductors over the centuries, they had learned a thing or two about the human species, and they were only, in their strange way, trying to understand it better by acting out scenarios that were, in the end, both a tribute to the species and a mocking condemnation of it. In any case, the Colors realized they were not going to save the world alone. It was the species of the Conductors that had caused the problem, and they would have to be a part of the solution, along with the Colors. If the Colors acted out human crimes and passions it was only an attempt to know the species better. Mimicry is an effective way to understand another being.

            The Colors had this one genuine flaw, that they all had a strong desire to work, and this desire by itself, could lead them to do naughty things. And yet . . . . . the consciousness of immortality had to play a part. They all knew that eventually their day would come. It might not be the dream Project, but at least it would be work. They all had good hearts and, like the Greek gods, they were usually willing to make compensation for damages incurred while at play. At any event, the Colors were very much aware that their only real purpose, for now, was to do everything they could to support the great crusade.

            At the beginning of a large Project, the Knights and Ladies of the Round Table were always beset by an array of problems. They not only had to promote themselves, they had to deal with endless Family members wanting work. “Too many pigs for the tits,” Sir Orange was heard to quote a human of the 19th century. The Conductor was always reminding them that there is fertility in chaos, and as long as they bulked up and appeared, ready to work, there was nothing much to worry about. Of course it was the Conductor who really made all the decisions. Everything leading up to those decisions was simply smoke and mirrors. If the finished Project brought the world a little closer to saving itself, all was well. If not, it was still worth the effort, for the pleasure it gave, and the joy of being alive.

            It was not only the Colors of the Round Table who were being pestered by relatives, but other Colors of influence as well. Lady Blue’s beautiful sister, Lady Cobalt, a great favorite of the current Conductor, was being approached by numerous members of her Family, some obscure, some well-known and popular, just not as well-known and popular as Lady Cobalt, who, ever since hearing about the mural, had been revving up to that fabulous warm glow that made her loved by nearly all. Her relatives came to her because if anyone could sway the Conductor, it was she. Lady Blue, instead of being jealous of her sister, was just happy to have someone to share the burden of all the appeals. Nor did Lady Blue, matriarch of the Colors, feel badly about not being included in the so-called “rapt pack,” which consisted of Lady Cobalt, Sir Orange, Lady Violet, Lady Lime, and Sir Red, who were always kept busy and always got plenty of applause. Their fame and popularity had given them the possibly false idea that they could get away with anything, so long as it was entertaining. If their performances ever fell short, the Conductor would graciously take the blame.

            It rarely happened that a Color from one Family would come to another Family to make an appeal. Family business was supposed to stay in the Family, and any transgressions of this unwritten rule were considered gauchery at best. In spite of this, Lady Cobalt had been approached by an obscure member of Sir Orange’s Family, Lady Tangerine Seed, and by a distant cousin of Lady Ultra, Sir Rock Moss. Lady Cobalt was not much inclined to help these two, she already had her hands full. But she was a courteous and warm-hearted Lady, and told them she would do what she could. The pressures applied to the Colors of the Round Table, and some of the Family celebrities, usually slid right off them. They were used to it. Prior to a very large Project, however, an element of mystery was introduced, causing confusion. With especially large Projects, new Colors were bound to be used, Colors hardly ever used otherwise. Thus the excitement and hope in the Kingdom of Color.

            There was a symbiotic relationship, of course, between the Conductor and the Colors, who felt themselves to be constantly gazed upon and studied with affection. And for their part, the Colors were always trying to empathize with the Conductor. The importance of creating a relationship of deep trust and understanding between the Colors and the Conductor could not be overstated. It was the only way something could be accomplished that just might save the world.


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Scene4 Magazine - David Wiley

David Wiley, painter-poet, exhibits throughout
California and abroad. A book about his work,
The Poetry of Color, is in progress.
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