Just Writing

The Truth About Broken Things

The Truth about Broken Things

The Fullston’s lived at No. 9 Chaddick Drive, just around the corner from the recruiting office. In the days following the bold black headlines of the Lusitania lines of men extended well past the front door. Their eyes all held different stories. Frightened or yearning for glory, and always perched above gray coats.

Eventually the gray spread to trousers and boots, and bled into the streets. And soon everything was gray except the signs for bonds.

At first I thought that it wouldn’t find its way past the front door. We kept it out for as long as we could, or at least I did. Mr. Fullston embraced the war, and for his sake Diana did as well. I don’t even think they noticed when the gray touched the marble and mahogany.

In the hallway outside the library was a mostly empty china cabinet. A shelf behind the dull glass held a colorful variety of tea cups. Diana once told me she collected them on her travels. In the years before meeting Mr. Fullston.

The gray touched the cups one by one. Hand painted flowers and bright rims eventually faded. And as I watched it happen I knew it would eventually reach me. It seemed the war would scar every inch of our lives.

When the lines had shortened and the obituaries were much too young, I noticed that two cups near the back of the shelf remained untouched. Behind the faded glass and rows of gray, the weak light reflected off their gold rims. The porcelain was a clean white. It spoke of purer times.

Each day I walked to the cabinet and pressed my fingertips to the glass. Just to look and see. To make sure that it hadn’t touched them. That it wouldn’t touch them. I was never sure what I would do if it had. I just hoped that it wouldn’t. It began to seem as though everything was hung in balance by that single moment each morning.

Diana asked me about it once, right before she left for one of her war effort meetings. I answered without thinking, “It hasn’t touched these two yet.” For a moment I was paralyzed with the notion that she wouldn’t understand.

She put her fur muff to the side, next to the boxes of gray clothes that were to be donated to soldiers. Her eyes were misty with confusion until she saw the cups. And a soft smiled graced her lips then. “I got those two when I was away at school. They were so simple. Ordinary, even. But perfect. Incredibly perfect.” She brushed a graying stand of hair from her eyes. “I usually only collected one cup at a time. But I couldn’t separate them. They were made to be together. I think that is what made them special.”

“They seem so…clean from the world.” My voice came out in a ragged whisper. To my surprise, Diana merely nodded.

“I’ll be back shortly, my dear. We’ll use them for our tea this afternoon.”

Mr. Fullston left soon after her, a telegram in his hand and a cigar jammed in the corner of his mouth. No doubt he was heading downtown to one of the large buildings with marble floors. I was never to know what he actually did there. He left clouds of gray smoke behind him as he closed the door.

I decided to wait until Diana came home from her meeting to get the saucers out. I was both excited and frightened to remove them from behind the glass. I needed the perfection Diana had spoken of to remain. And yet I had a small hope of absorbing their purity.

Perhaps it was this hope that caused the accident. I’ll never be entirely sure.

Diana sat at the table, our tea set before her as I removed the cups. They were dainty, yet somehow strong in their light clinking. I wiped them clean of any gray dust and walked back towards the tea room.

But the cups fell.

They slipped from my hands and shattered into fragments on the gray floor. I screamed. And I could not get to the pieces before the gray began weeping into them.

“No! No, no, no!” My tears splashed onto the tainted porcelain. But they didn’t wash it clean.

“It’s alright, my dear.” Diana’s voice was suddenly beside me. But I couldn’t seem to hear it. I frantically began gathering up the pieces, hardly noticing when one of them cut me. Then I saw that even my blood looked gray. And that was when I realized that there was no escape. There was no remaining untouched.

“We will fix them.” Diana’s voice came piercing through my realizations.

“But we can’t.” My voice was as raw as my new reality. “They are broken. I broke them. They were perfect and now they are tainted.” I was finally able to meet her eyes. “Diana, it’s all broken.”

Diana smiled at me, and then carefully picked up the fragmented cups. At her silent invitation I followed her to the kitchen where she scrubbed the blood from my hands. Then we sat at the large table and I watched her repair the cups. Piece by piece, the porcelain fit back together and the gold rims returned. Though I thought I would be forever haunted by the cracks.

“Everything gets broken from time to time.” Diana finally said, “But you should learn now that brokenness is never final. I told you earlier that I’ve always felt that the perfection we sense here lies in the fact that they were made for one another. Tainted or whole makes no difference.”

One day, the gray was gone. Perhaps it left on its own or perhaps I simply stopped seeing it. For the rest of the war I visited the china cabinet every day. I pressed my fingertips to the glinting glass and peered inside at the two white cups. And I often heard Diana’s voice in my head, teaching me the truth about broken things.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I’ve had this short story floating around in the gray areas of my mind for some time now. It wasn’t until recently, when I had a very wonderful conversation with somebody whom I love dearly, that I was able to put all the pieces together. I felt myself looking for some grand way to express the simplest truth I’ve learned this year. But it wasn’t until I stripped away the thoughts of grandeur that I could really see it before my eyes. Sometimes the grandest way to express our deepest truths is through simple means. It was a joy to write.

Just Writing

Say It In Writing

biggerWhen I blog, what I’m really doing is writing down all of the things I wish I could say out loud. I think it’s probably like this for most of us. Especially the writers. Writing is the way that we say the things of our soul. The things that we are thinking, feeling, and knowing, but can’t actually say.

I’m not sure what it is about our world, but none of us ever say what we really think. It’s much too raw. It’s much too real. And when we look back on it we have a tendency to be embarrassed. We have a tendency to wonder what we were thinking when we were so unabashedly ourselves. Or at least that’s what happens to me.

Honesty has been hard for me lately. Not because I’ve been lying like crazy, but because the truth has been very painful. I have let fear get in the way of my life for the past several weeks. And when I made one tiny move to try and let go of this fear, it proved to be a little anticlimactic. Even stupid. Go figure.

I wish I could explain to you all of the times I’ve prayed and gotten amazing answers. One of my friends told me today that God has been spoiling me recently, and I couldn’t agree more. It really is true. He has been. I’ve never been this close to Him in my entire life. Which is actually really good because I’m carrying a lot of crap around inside of my heart right now. And it isn’t very fun.

But what I really wanted to do tonight is say a few things to the most important people inchapter my life. I want to say what’s in my heart, and let them know what I’m actually thinking. And when I come back and read this blog post I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to be proud of myself for being this brave. I want to be okay with being vulnerable again. I want to be okay with saying what’s in my heart. Even if it hurts. So here it goes:

A: How could I ever explain to you how amazing you are? Seriously I’ve known you for such a long time and you never ever cease to blow my mind. I just want to be a fraction of your type of cool. You have so much strength in your heart and it honestly leaves me in so much awe. I hope that when you look in the mirror you see the woman that I see. We both know that I have a gift for seeing people as they really are, so don’t try and fight with me on this. I’m right. You absolutely shine. Thank you so much.

M: Thank you for teaching me how to be a dreamer. I wish you would stop dreaming and live your dreams now. Don’t be afraid anymore. It’s time to live. Just do it. Please.

perfect goodD: Thank you for teaching me to be a doer. I love you very much. Please don’t forget that sometimes your heart’s more important than your mind. In fact, I honestly think that that’s where all of our truth is. I wish you could see that.

H: Please never stop laughing. But also please remember that it’s okay to be sad. You don’t have to be perfect, and in fact you never will be. We’re all here to help each other. That’s the point. Thank you for holding me while I ugly cried, and smoothing my hair. And buying me Jimmy Fallon ice cream. And loving me through every disaster. You help me believe in the redeeming power of love, and that as long as we trust each other we can do anything.

S: You’re probably so tired of all that I have to say. And I wouldn’t blame you. So here’s all that I have to say this time: if God tells me to be patient with you one more time I’m going to lose my freaking mind. I’ll either have to actually do it or just be in open rebellion, harderwhich I don’t see ending well. Actually I tried that angle for a while, the angle of “oh my gosh I am so done because this bloody hurts” and suffice it to say… it didn’t end well. I laughed, but I’m pretty sure He was serious. I’ll tell you that story some day.

K: You’ve gotta trust yourself more than you do, girl. I wish you could see how incredibly bright your eyes are. There is so much there it kills me. Don’t let fear run your life anymore.

J: I love you so much. You teach me so much as our lives continue to unfold. But I wish you would stop treating me like an innocent child. I wish you could see that I have scars, too. The other day you told me that you kind of gloried in my pain, and that hurt more than I can ever say. I’ve experienced a lot of hurt, and a lot of things that have changed logicme. I’m not who I was in those days. And there were things about that person I was that you’ll never know or understand. She spent so much of her time being angry about love, but in her heart that’s all she really wanted. She wanted to believe in it. She wanted it to be real. It was all she really, really wanted. She prayed for it every day. That’s who she really was underneath everything you saw. I hope that someday you can trust me with every vulnerable part of you. That someday you’ll stop thinking that you have to change what you think because you’re with me. But dude, you’re a freaking rock star. Thank you for that.

homeJ: Just don’t be scared. Live your life as brilliantly as we all know you’re going to. And don’t you dare think for one minute that you have to prove us wrong or prove us right or prove anything. Do what makes you happy. Just let your awesomeness shine. And don’t you dare give up.

C: Where would I be without you???? I just have absolutely no clue. You are the greatest human. The greatest. The purest of cinnamon rolls. Thank you for being an amazing friend and an incredible woman. Seriously, you are the big sister in our friendship. It doesn’t even matter that I’m older than you. You have so much in you and it is dazzling.

certain thingQ: You make me believe in the goodness of humanity. You are the human that I’ve always wanted to be, but will probably never be great enough to be. But I’m so grateful for you in my life. You are #goals. Thank you.

Love,

Jordan

I'm Just Saying

Grateful Snippets

starsTonight I am grateful. For so many things. I’m grateful for cool summer nights and lots of stars. I’m grateful for so many good friends. I could write novels filled with what they teach me about unconditional love.

I got to see a friend today who I haven’t seen in over two years. We served our religious missions together, and spent about three months together during that time. We were best friends. And as life as worked out we just haven’t been able to see one another again until now. It was incredible, though, because in many ways it was as though we’d never been apart. We laughed about the craziness that our lives have been recently, the good and the bad. We talked and laughed through the time that had separated us.

I also did something today that I have always wanted to do. Seriously. On this, a perfectly normal Friday filled with a friend lunch and a shift at work, I crossed off a bucket list item.

I sat in Barnes and Noble in the Starbucks and wrote a poem.

Intellectualism was so heavy in the air it was almost touchable. I didn’t buy anything, didn’t order a drink or a muffin. That’s for next time. This time I simply at at one of the tables and wrote. I threw my inhibitions out the window, everything that usually stops me as I write. The things that say I shouldn’t write this or that. And I just wrote whatever came to me.

Whether or not the poem is any good, or even what I really wanted to say, I don’t really know. But it was something. And I’m grateful for it. flow

I’m grateful for snippets of happy that string themselves together. I’m grateful for newfound loves and discoveries. I’m grateful for pizza. Always pizza. I’m grateful to understand more of what it means to love others and be loyal to them. I’m grateful that I’m not perfect, but that I can continue to try every day. I’m grateful for friends who understand my sarcasm, as it gets out of hand pretty quickly at times. I’m grateful for my nieces and nephews, who never ever stop teaching me the meaning of acceptance and love.

Even in the hard moments. The dark ones. Always love.

I’m grateful for that.

Just Writing

i can’t run

i spent those days listening
hearing music
feeling the truth
believing

ed sheeran sang songs
about love
about something perfect
beauty

with my fears cast aside
i pushed forward
so hopefully
happy

prayers were answered
strangely enough
it all made sense
perfect

i saw a picture
of me from long ago
hopeful eyes
innocent

she is gone now
so are her dreams
so shattered
reality

i don’t see her
in the mirror
just a woman
stretched

pushing forward
defying the alternative
hope so fragile
fading

God leaves notes
bits of promise
urges me forward
soon

London is too far
words help or destroy
the music lied
unsurprised

spend moments remembering
longer forgetting
make new dreams
wait

create more art
choose to believe
in love and light
choice

it’s all choice
every moment
follow the path
please

illuminated before me
God lit the way
harder every day
believing

i’m tired of the tragedy
things falling apart
lessons learned too
late

life is so short
happiness maybe fleeting
hold on, He says,
shortly

they say to only depend
on yourself
only need you
everyday

they say nobody is
responsible for your
happiness or sadness
wondering

about loyalty and love
we are responsible
it’s called love
remember?

we all need each other
it’s why we’re here
we’re not supposed to be
alone

we give others power
over us and our heart
it’s our only chance for
happiness

i want to forget
the rightness
i want to run away
London

but i can’t
at night i remember
the rightness and i can’t
run

the girl in the picture
is gone forever
replaced by patchwork
me

one thing still remains
a stubborn belief
in conquering love
clinging

 

I'm Just Saying

Promise Me

One of the things I love most about summertime is how late the sun sets. The horizon was still glowing with pink and orange at ten o’clock tonight. I was driving around, listening to music.

make senseToday was really quite something. Yep. Yep it was. If I’m being completely honest, it was really hard. Today was a very, very hard day.

I’ve been ruminating on the subject of promises today. I can’t get it out of my head. I also realize that most of the time these types of posts really don’t go anywhere, but nevertheless I write them.

Promises have long intrigued me. They are incredibly important to me. And I’ve had a long standing policy about promises that’s really quite straightforward: If you make a promise, you keep it. It’s as simple as that.

Or so I thought.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe it isn’t as simple as that. I think it can be as simple as that, but it gets all blurred. Life tends to do that unfortunately. I think promises get blurred when you start to really question them.

Do you have to say “I promise” in order for it to be considered a promise?

I’ve never thought so. I still don’t. I think we make promises all the time. More often than will not failwe really know. We make a promise when we tell somebody to have a good day. A promise that we care about how their day goes. We make a promise when we answer a question a child asks. A promise that we will help them find the answer, even if we don’t know it. We make a promise when we pray and ask God for answers. A promise that we’ll act on the answer we get. We make a promise when we joke around with our friends. A promise that we care about their happiness, and how often they laugh.

But to be honest, I think that the words, “I love you” are the most powerful promise we ever make.

I could go on for days about all the promises we make when we use those words. But I won’t. You all know what they are.

I’ve been thinking in particular today about the promises that we make with God, and the things He promises us.

heavenly promisesThe wonderful thing about God’s promises is that they are sure. God doesn’t lie. He can’t. When He makes us a promise, He has to keep it. I think that’s pretty incredible. All we have to do is trust Him. And have faith. It’s a lot easier said than I done, I know. Trust me. But He’s told me it will all be worth it when the sun shines again.

That’s a promise.

I'm Just Saying

All The Cliches

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been plagued with the desire to be different. My entire life has been spent seeking to be the nonconformist. I lost track years ago of how this happens. I don’t even want to talk about how many times I haven’t done something for the sole reason that “everybody else” is doing it.

This has always just been a huge part of me. It’s been me. I can’t be like everybody else.

But even this truth was hard because I knew I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. I knew that lots of people don’t want to conform to society. Lots of people want to be different. Lots of people felt exactly like me.

ClicheSo even in my desire to be different, I wasn’t different.

I’m not sure where this need to be a nonconformist came from. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t this way. Many of you know that I come from a very large family. I am one of ten children. Maybe this is where my desire to be different comes from. Maybe I just needed to stand out from the army of humans I was raised with. But to be honest, I love having a big family. It is hard sometimes, yes, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love my siblings very much.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because in the last few months this aspect of my personality has been through some interesting twists and turns. And the last few days it’s been driving me nuts. I’ll explain.

I’ve been doing a lot of creating lately. I’ve been writing my novel, writing poems, and even painting a little. And it’s been really great. I love to create. I have loved doing it so much lately.

But then I get inside of my own head. And I start falling into the paradox all creators face:

What can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said?

What could I possibly write that hasn’t already been written?

My need to create has been seriously stagnated by my really obnoxious personality flaw. But this aspect of my personality has been seriously toned down the last few months. Actually, I’ve changed a lot the last few months.

I’ve learned that there is a reason cliches exist. I’ve learned that there is a reason that “everybody” does the things that they do.

It’s because they are good things. They are the best things. The right things. And when something is the best, and right, you have to take it. You just have to. And be grateful that you got lucky enough to understand why cliches exist.

So maybe I can’t say or write something different than what has already been said and written a million times for thousands of years. But I can say it or write it from my perspective. I can say it or write it from my heart. And in that way it will be just a little bit different. And it will be my take on life. And my take on the cliches.

So guess what?

I’ll take them. All the cliches. Send them my way, please.

I'm Just Saying

Seeking The More

For at least three days now, I’ve gotten on my blog and just…stared. I look over past posts, or I literally just sit there and stare at the page.

ballpointI have felt the need to blog, obviously, which is why I come onto my blog in the first place. And then I sit here and can’t think of anything to say. I’ve written a handful of posts that never saw the light of publishing. Because I just don’t know what to say.

I’ve blogged about a lot of things recently, and have been very open about the goings on in my life. And now I sit here and wonder what I could say today that I haven’t already said a million times.

I’ve been working on my novel like crazy recently. It has been a really wonderful experience. When I write a novel, I’m constantly in a battle of quality vs. quantity. For some reason I have it in my head that in order for a novel to have an literary merit at all it must be long. Then I look at The Great Gatsby and realize that this opinion is rubbish.

Not that my novel is going to end up being pathetically short or any such nonsense. That would be ridiculous. But it has been quite liberating to just write like crazy and not worry about how long the novel might end up being. I remind myself often that I’m trying to communicate something on a much deeper level than word count.

I wrote one of the saddest scenes in the novel the other day. No matter how much I write truthsof a story, I never stop getting caught up in it. It doesn’t matter that I know what’s going to happen. I find myself getting scared or nervous or brokenhearted with my characters. I believe that this allows me to write them more accurately. If I can feel what they feel.

In this scene, the characters were faced with a very perfect maybe. There was an inevitability to the whole experience. My main character, Rosemary, understands this. And so her heart is not broken. She is not in pain. She just feels empty. It is the other character that my heart really aches for. It is the one scene in the novel when this character actually feels something real. When they really experience something. And you can just feel their pain.

Coming up are more scenes similar to this one. My characters come to a point where they break the surface of life and have to face everything they’ve been carrying underneath it all. Quite honestly, it is a pretty emotional journey.

My hope with it all is that I can communicate the simultaneous strength and fragility we all possess. I’m telling a love story in all of the ridiculous cliche-ness that is a cliche, but really I want to talk about something more than two people finding each other and deciding it would be a good idea to stick together. There’s more to love than that. There’s more to life than that. It’s that “more” than I’m seeking to tap into.

loveAlso, it’s set in the 1950’s which means I can reference Frank Sinatra as regularly as I wish and it is completely acceptable.

But mostly it is just a very beautiful, pure story about people finding where they belong and refusing to give up on it. They are afraid, and sometimes they run. But ultimately they don’t. They never give up on each other. It teaches me a lot.