A Letter to Mother that She Will Never Read

That time, at forty-six, when you had a sudden desire to color. Let’s go to Walmart, you said one morning. I need coloring books. For months, you filled the space between your arms with all the shades you couldn’t pronounce. Magenta, vermillion, marigold, pewter, juniper, cinnamon. Each day, for hours, you slumped over landscapes of farms, pastures, Paris, two horses on a windswept plain, the face of a girl with black hair and skin you left blank, left white. You hung them all over the house, which started to look like an elementary-school classroom. When I asked you, Why coloring, why now?, you put down the sapphire pencil and stared, dreamlike, at a half-finished garden. I just go away in it for a while, you said, but I feel everything, like I’m still here, in this room.

Ocean Vuong, excerpt from A Letter to Mother that She Will Never Read


  • Don’t miss Ocean Vuong’s full essay in the May 13, 2017th edition of The New Yorker here.
  • Photo: Thank you Dan @ Your Eyes Blaze Out


  1. Go away for a while, yes!
    So so beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Beautiful thoughts!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. perfect. i still color in my books quite often. zen –

    Liked by 1 person

  4. absolutely! being transported by and with the colors, the art making.
    Its both calming and restorative. I loved the photo!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a bunch of colouring books. Before the “craze”, I searched in an art shop for a colouring book that was not too childish and then found a hard-cover “Thousand and One Nights” art therapy book. I coloured for hours after Mick died and it was so very perfect for totally emptying my mind and just being. I still go towards that when I need to remove myself and just cannot focus on words…
    Beautiful post, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the link. Going to read that letter.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely way to escape!

    Liked by 1 person

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