words

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 24

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. — Tolstoy

FAMILY

The family: Comes with no written, stated or implied guarantee. Oh, but I wish there was. I wish it did. I struggle to say that I think there should be. I am more at ease to say that I am wrong.

I think the best we can do is promise to try and do better. We can promise to love without condition, forgive without grudge and choose to always, always see the best. At least see those for who they are, rather than who we want them to be.

The family: these people who are part of us, who made us, who shape us, who damage us and lift us up. These are the expectations placed upon a unit who have been placed together by luck and  biology. Or some divine plan. For some, the luck was bad, the biology formed funny, the plan was flawed. Or it wasn’t. Maybe it was only meant for a while. Maybe the plan was to teach, to [hopefully] learn, to prepare for the next.

The family: Those who will share something – cells, memories, trials, tragedy, love, meaning, hope, pain – with us forever. Our stories are all different. Certainly our unhappy ones are.

My family: Built on a competition we were never going to win. I don’t know who decided upon the rules, but I remember playing.

My family: Torn apart by anger and immaturity, pride and a change come too soon.

My family: Marked now by loss and gaps of time that bring forgetting and remembering and moving on.

My family: Came with love but without a guarantee of receipt without condition. Came with a best before date, a warning of expiry.

It was me who left. It was me who could not stay. It is me who is now lost. In reality, I am not. In metaphor, there are betters to choose. In reality I am here, existing with my past and my experiences and my future. If you say that I am lost, that you have lost me – like a ship at sea? like a missing sock? like a misplaced object from such a time ago? We are not lost. We are trees. separated by a chasm too wide for our branches to reach. We are books that once shared characters, but whose stories have ended. We are windows that have been forced shut by time and weather and paint in neighbouring houses, without people who have the ability to pry them open again.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

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CW CHALLENGE: DAY 22

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GOODBYE

airports see more sincere kisses than weddings halls. the walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches

We must stop saying that we hate goodbye. Of course a goodbye is not lovingly embraced. Our culture has attempted to lessen the blow with clichés like a goodbye makes room for a later hello or saying goodbye to something good makes room for something better. They are not nice because they come with loss. That is why change is so feared, so disliked, so distrusted — the loss.

I think the term comes from God be with you….God bye….Goodbye. It was a blessing once. It can be a blessing still. It’s a salutation to send someone or something out into the universe with care. With love. With longing. It is, however, an ending, a parting, a disconnect.

Hearing that ‘I hate goodbyes’ drives me a little nutty. Who likes them? At least when they happen. We may look back on them with deep breaths and relieved sighs, but not in the thick of the first utterance. We must remember that a goodbye is not required. It is not owed – to you or by you. It is a tool, a marker, a note for a moment in time, a glimpse before a turning, a word before none. It is not a goodbye that changes anything. It is what happens after.

I have had goodbyes and I have had great loss without them. They haven’t changed anything. Their absence hasn’t changed anything. They haven’t eased the feelings, nor have the ones spoken brought me any comfort.

I do not hate goodbyes. I do not feel I am owed a goodbye, from anyone, for anything. Their goodbyes are not for me, just as mine are not for them. Like a funeral is not for the one who has passed, the goodbye is for those who are still here.

If you need a word to capture the space before the change, you have it. Embrace it. It’s not the goodbye you hate, it’s what is coming. The change, the silence, the grief, the loss, the unknown.

The goodbye is the blessing.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

thirty days in one

if i try to stretch it out over a month, it will never get done, so here’s the 30 day book challenge in one.

01: Best book read last year
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

02: Book you’ve read more than three times
The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

03: Favourite Series
Harry Potter – JK Rowling

04: Favourite book of series
Prisoner of Askaban

05: Book that makes you happy
Bird by Bird – Anne Lammott

06: Book that makes you sad
Have a Little Faith – Mitch Albom

07: Book that makes you laugh
Dad is Fat – Jim Gaffigan

08: Most overrated book
Room – Emma Donogue

09: Book you thought you wouldn’t like but did
A Reliable Wife – Robert Goolrick

10: Book that reminds you of home
House Rules – Rachel Sontag

11: Book you hated
Can’t answer; if I hate them, don’t finish them

12: Book you love and hate at same time
Looking for Alaska – John Green

13: Favourite Writer
Anne Lammott

14: Book turned movie – completely desecrated
Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

15: Favourite Male Character
Charlie – Perks of Being a Wallflower

16: Favourite Female Character
Lennie – The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson

17: Favourite Quote from a favourite book
“Rivers know this– there is no hurry, we will get there someday” Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
(I could go on for a day with this category)

18: Book that Disappointed
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

19: Favourite book turned movie
Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
I almost never like movies made from books, this one I hated least.

20: Favourite romance
Crossfire Series – Sylvia Day

21: First novel you remember reading
Charlotte’s Web – EB White

22: Book that makes you cry
We were the Mulvaneys – Joan Carol Oates

23: Book you’ve wanted to read for a long time, still haven’t
Where’d you go, Bernadette – Maria Semple

24: A book you wish more would have read
When God was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman

25: A character you can relate to the most
I don’t read to relate, so this one is hard…

26: Book that changed your opinion about something
This is How – Augusten Burroughs

27: Most surprising plot twist/ending
The Giver – Lois Lowry

28: Favourite title
It’s not usually the title that gets me, it’s the dedication or the first line.

29: A book everyone hated but you liked
I don’t know…who is everyone and what book did they hate?

30: Favourite book of all time
There are so many favourites…
Oh! The Places You’ll Go – Dr Seuss
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
This is How – Augusten Burroughs
The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson
The Beginning of Everything –  Robyn Schneider
A Visit from the Good Squad – Jennifer Egan
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
….

Where She Went

I’ve come to realize there’s a world of difference between knowing something happened, even knowing why it happened, and believing it.

Where-She-Went

 

 

 

 

 

 
Where She Went by Gayle Forman (sequel to If I Stay)

How it begins: Every morning I wake up and I tell myself this: It’s just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through.

In less than 24 hours I discovered a book I recently read had a sequel, I downloaded that sequel and I read that sequel. Was it a piece of YA genius? Nope. Was it a lovely conclusion to the story that began in the first book? Absolutely. The first book ended with a beginning and this one brought the strings all back together. I’m glad this one came to my attention. It was nice to revisit the characters, learn more of their before and be brought into their endings. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. It’s told from a male perspective this time and that’s new and interesting, and the time between books has not been great, which was interesting to go through as well. It’s a quick, easy read, and I respect the story for exactly what it was.