It was only a week now before commencement of work on the
great new Project, a 40 x 95 foot mural, which, it was hoped, would go some ways toward saving the world. The Conductor and all the Knights and Ladies of the Round Table, in fact
all the Colors in the Kingdom of Color, were aware of what was about to happen, and for many it had become a preoccupation. The Conductor had been waking up in the middle of the
night, dazzled by things he had seen in his dreams. All the heads of the Families, and the celebrities among those Families, had been bulking up in preparation, and certain Colors,
like Lady Vermilion and Lady Cobalt, were in training to give themselves that radiance which made them so admired. They were doing what they could to get ready, and of course the
heads of the Families were still being inundated with appeals from Family members they had never heard of. Everyone wanted a role in the big Project. The Ladies and Knights of the
Round Table did their best to plant suggestions in the mind of the Conductor, a subtle and evanescent process. If Lady Violet, for example, wanted to obtain work for her distant
cousin, Sir Lichenlint, she would first have to catch the eye of the Conductor, then while he was gazing at her in admiration, bring up the image of Sir Lichenlint, using all of
her cleverest charms and guiles in such a way that not only would the image of Sir Lichenlint enter the Conductor’s consciousness, it would do so with such a favorable
impression that the Conductor might well find a role for this habitually out-of-work Knight.
These subliminal suggestions made by the heads of the Families very often failed, but
now and then they worked with great success. Lady Ternsegg, for one, had risen from obscurity to fame this way. She did have the advantage of being a member of Lady Blue’s
Family. All the Colors and all the Conductors were well aware of Lady Blue’s persuasiveness. Lady Ternsegg turned out to be a shooting star, whose fame was considerable but
shortlived. Now there was only a nostalgic memory of her, but at least she had been given the experience of being in the limelight. She was thankful for this period in her life
because it had given her the wisdom to understand how meaningless fame and celebrity really are. Lady Ternegg now felt a strange kind of sorrow for the Ladies and Knights of the
Round Table, who were constantly in the public eye.
The system of communication between the Colors and the Conductors was nebulous, chaotic
and, in short, very hard to pin down. There were many mysteries of the senses involved. It was said that many Colors produced a scent that had the power to hold a Conductor in
thrall. Many Conductors over the centuries had admitted to hearing music of various kinds while admiring certain Colors. No one knew exactly what went on between the Colors and the
Conductors. All that was known for sure was that they needed each other, and that it was not only to their benefit, but to the world’s benefit as well, if they could all work
together with as much empathy and compassion as possible, inspiring and stimulating each other all the while to bring out the best in everyone. Only in this way would the Projects
carry enough power and influence to save the world.
The Conductor was faced with a host of questions, or, as he liked to call them,
“things of the imagination yet to be resolved.” These things of the imagination involved whatever Colors the imagination wanted to include. The job of the Conductor was
to put everything together into a workable form whose impact would be enhanced by every square inch of this 547,200 square inch mural. In the smaller Projects it was the
Conductor’s habit to use a palette limited to the Colors of the Round Table and a few of their close relatives. A giant mural required a different approach. It had to embrace
much more than a few selected things. It had to be grand, in the sense of being all-inclusive, without losing its focus in the grandiosity. A nearly impossible balancing act was
essential to the success of the Project. Deciding which Colors to use, where to use them, and how much of each one to use, was, in itself, a task that needed such bold yet subtle
powers of discrimination it made the Conductor shudder a little, even though considerations of Color were his forte, and what he loved most about his Projects. Now, on the eve of
his most adventurous Project ever, the Conductor could not afford an ambiguous or indecisive connection with any of the twelve Families. He wanted them all to be happy.
The dilemma lay in the problem of which Family relatives to select. The Conductor was
fully conscious of the thousands of little-known Colors who lived in the Kingdom of Color, most of whom he had never used, and many whose names he had never seen or heard. The
Colors of the Round Table were always trying to promote some of their relatives, using the typical roundabout methods of persuasion. And the Conductor, who faced more than one
dilemma, had to keep an open mind and the receptiveness required for the purposes of exploration and experimentation, which were the most compelling parts of the process. There
were almost too many things the Conductor had to think about, and act on, in addition to maintaining a state of passion and clarity. The most important thing for everyone was to be
in a healthy and energetic condition. The Conductor and the Colors would be performing an unknown dance they would invent as they went along, élan, and they had to be in top
shape, with all senses functioning at optimum. How best to prepare for this dance had been a subject of discussion among the Conductors and the Colors for many centuries. There did
not seem to be an easy answer. Conductors and Colors all prepared themselves in different ways. And of course it depended too on the nature of the Project they were getting ready
for. Their work wa essentially individualistic, thus there were no standards or rules, which was one of the things they all loved about it. Now and then a Conductor would try to
impose rules, but no one took this very seriously, especially those with the most experience and imagination. No, the best Conductors operated on a different principle. They let
the world teach them, then they taught themselves, using a very thorough process of discrimination.
One of the dilemmas the Conductor had to cope with was the pattern of dispersing the
Colors he had chosen. Having dealt with them on a more-or-less personal basis for many years, he felt very much in the midst of a balancing act. There were a certain number of
Colors, old favorites mostly, that he knew would be used in major roles. It was all the minor roles, which were no less important, that the Conductor had to agonize over. It was a
sweet kind of agony, and seemed more like a dream than a decision-making process. The selection of Colors often felt random and whimsical. The Conductor tried to convince himself
that it was a part of improvisation, which is an important part of creation. There had to be, the Conductor told himself, serious motives behind these whimsical decisions.
Then the Conductor, as he often did, leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes, and
listened to the voices of the Colors, hoping, perchance, to have a visit from Lady Chameleon.