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.

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

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.

For Laughs

An Open Letter To One Direction

Dear One Direction,

carI did not fully appreciate you until you were gone. I wish there was a way for me to explain how this happened. I wish there was justification for my actions. But there isn’t. Just like Zayn, I threw away an incredible opportunity to be a part of something spectacular. I’m trying not to be haunted by this fact. This letter, while a deep window into my soul, must be written. I can’t contain this anymore.

I’m going through the phases of loving you in ridiculous amounts, being angry at Zayn, loving you more without him, and being sad that you’re gone all at once. And oh, so much later than the rest of the world. It’s actually quite beautiful in all of it’s tragic too late-ness.

I’m watching X Factor things years too late. I’m watching interviews years too late. Enjoying music years too late. I’m falling in love with Harry so much later than everybody else. (Which doesn’t diminish the love itself, Harry, I’m just saying.) But it’s just all too late. Much too late. If I tried to count each instance I’m sure it would feel like infinity.history

It has taught me a valuable lesson. It’s taught me that for some things, it’s never too late. But it has also taught me that when something good is right in front of you, you have to grab it and never let go. It’s taught me that sometimes it can be too late. And that you can’t pass by the wonderful things that life hands you. Maybe we all say it too much, but we should never give up. If you know something, go for it.

Perhaps if I had jumped on the One Direction bandwagon years ago with the rest of the world, I wouldn’t enjoy everything you all did as much as I do now. Perhaps it would’ve have the same influence as it does now. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as special.

In any case, I need to thank each one of you individually for your contributions to my life in the last few months. You’ve all contributed to a rather interesting time in my life in your own unique way.

suitsLiam: You’re such a drama queen. I love watching you in music videos, because you just pour so much of your soul into it. Thanks for teaching me that about life.

Niall: You’re just…perfect. And so cute. And so loveable. Just so Irish. You make the world a better place with your happiness.

Louis: You have a special place in my heart, Louis. You have such kind eyes. You really are so pure. Like a cinnamon roll. You make me believe in the purity of the human race.

Harry: We’ve got to stop meeting like this. It’s more than I can handle most days. That’s really all I can say for now.

Also, I would like to issue a blanket thank you to all of you for the following songs, which light of my life, comfort my heart, and speak all the words I wish I could speak:

  • Still the One
  • End of the Day
  • You and I
  • Infinity
  • Rock Me
  • Steal My Girl
  • A.M
  • Kiss You
  • Little Things
  • Better than Words
  • If I Could Fly
  • No Control
  • Perfect

Oh, these are only a few. Truly. But these are some of the special ones. The ones that have little thingshelped me through some hard times, which I honestly can’t be held responsible for. Just thank you. Thank you for making me happy, for helping me know that there really are words for how I’m feeling, and teaching me lots of life lessons. Lots of little things.

Probably the most important life lessons you’ve taught me are that life is meant to be lived, that we need to follow our passions, and that love is much too precious to let slip away.

Many thanks.

Love, Jordan

Just Writing

The Green Field

The Green Field

If I close my eyes
and open my mind
I always see a green field

The sun is shining
and the air is crisp
a white dress reaches my heels

Sometimes there are leaves
the color of Fall
piling around my feet

Piano music plays
I always walk on
and for what am I searching?

I don’t come often
to the rolling field
it hides behind slabs of life

Every so often
it comes to the front
so vivid before my eyes

Sometimes it changes
this green rolling field
at times I walk down a path

Sometimes there’s a fence
it guides me forward
I never, ever look back

I don’t ever know
what is waiting here
in this place inside my mind

I’ve never made it
too far down the path
looking, but never to find

Some few days ago
when I closed my eyes
I saw something very new

I sat on the ground
on top of a quilt
the sky was vividly blue

I wasn’t alone
there was no white dress
different than other times

Still my same green field
but so very new
what I saw, such a new sight

Too precious to write
the things that I saw
a life I hope awaits me

I will keep it close
and pray to live it
changes in the field of green