Ultra-violet Catastrophe!

When I was a little girl, my mom read me a book called Ultra-violet Catastrophe! Or, The Unexpected Walk with Great-Uncle Magnus Pringle by Margaret Mahy. It’s about a girl who loves to get dirty and climb trees and play in mud. I was not very much like this girl. But I loved this book and the illustrations by Brian Froud. I recently found this old book on my parents’ bookshelf and brought it home to read to my five-year-old son. He mostly laughed at the tearing of Great-Uncle Magnus Pringle’s pants, but I loved sharing the story with him. My son loves to play outside, and all of his pants are ripped at the knees. We are very different, but when we curl up on his bed to read stories and he puts his head on my shoulder to see the pictures, I feel complete.

The pantone color of the year is Ultra Violet 18-3838. On the Pantone website, it says “A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”

I doubt that the committee that selected the color for 2018 had an old children’s book written in 1975 in mind, but they might have thought about the scientific theory by the same name. The ultraviolet catastrophe, also called the Rayleigh–Jeans catastrophe, was the prediction of late 19th century/early 20th century classical physics that an ideal black body at thermal equilibrium will emit radiation in all frequency ranges, emitting more energy as the frequency increases. Now, physics was by far my worst subject in school, but I get the general idea that the faster you move, the more energy you give off. Right?

This past year, I moved pretty fast. I found it hard to sit down and relax, to just be. I had so many personal goals I wanted to cross off my list. Now, it is a new year, and I find myself slowing down. Maybe it’s the bone-chilling cold air, or trying to figure out what my new goals should be, but I’m just tired. Not enough sunlight perhaps. I need some new inspiration. I’m listening to Plainsong by The Cure. One of my all-time favorite songs. It reminds me of the winter of 2001. I remember driving home from school one day, playing the song over and over again. I never get tired of it. It’s an ultra violet song.

The Pantone website:

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Sounds like a good goal for the new year. Pushing boundaries. Creating a unique mark on the world. Going outside, climbing upwards, getting a clearer view.

Rachel Wimer