writing

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 21

A COUPLE

for she, who loved this garden
from he, who loved her so
carved out words on a worn out bench
that echo of long ago

the flowers grow without her care
the weeds now share the space
the garden’s changed without her there
the bench reserves her place

he used to come and breathe them in
with memories of then
he made the bench to busy his hands
and to help him remember when

they used to sit, she used to read
he used to touch her hair
she left this world before he did
they knew it wasn’t fair

he built the bench to sit with her
because she loved it so
and when he followed her back home
the garden continued to grow

and the spots they sat stayed empty
and the blooms they tended passed
and the garden missed them when they went
and their time went all too fast

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

CW Challenge : Day 20

A LETTER LEFT BEHIND

Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, this friends absent speak. — John Donne

To you (and you and you and you)

I often wonder if you expected it to turn out like this. If you ever thought it would be this bad. I gain comfort for myself in believing that you didn’t. That you couldn’t have.

I wonder if regret found you, if lessons were learned. I wonder if you weigh the untruths you are responsible for. And we are all responsible for something false. I wonder as much about how you feel, as I think about whether it matters. I think it does. I believe it must.

I understand desperation and the fear that holds hands with a loss of control. That makes sense to me. Your choices shatter and confuse me every day. Still.

He has never done the things you accused him of. He has never caused me harm. He hasn’t snuck or smoked or sold or swat or severed. He has supported and shouldered and swore and suffered and somehow survived. It matters so much to him that you know that. It matters less to me because I don’t feel like your opinion on the matter, matters. But he does, and I think sometimes it ruins him. But what happened and what was said wasn’t fair. It caused damage that still drifts and clings and remains in the worst possible moments. And when the wind blows hard enough, things get uprooted again and it gets harder and harder to settle it all back in. It didn’t need to be like this. I wonder if you feel what that feels like.

And it can’t be taken back. How much time has been spent wishing it could be taken back, wishing you could do that for me. Wishing you would do that for me. Wishing the imbalance between how much he cares and how little you do could switch, how I could shift the weight. I understand desperation. The refusal to fix what’s in your power to fix, that’s harder for me to understand. And I wonder what would change if I understood it. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe everything.

There are things in my power and things that will forever escape me.

And so much that will always be left behind. The further ahead we go though, the better I feel about leaving it.

with love, always with love.

xo.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

If I Stay

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If I Stay by Gayle Forman

How it begins: Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true.

Told by a girl in a coma. She is aware that her family is gone and she is all that’s left. There are people who love her that want her to wake up but she spends the story telling the stories of remembrance and young love, that could have, should have and maybe would have been.

It is built on the possibility that everything can change in a second, with a snowfall or a day off or a music selection. It’s all fleeting and the decisions we make – before and after – have consequences and meaningful impacts that reach far and wrench heartstrings.

This was a quick read, and when I was looking for the image of the cover to stick in this post, I discovered that there is a sequel. (I guess you can figure that she stayed…that doesn’t lessen the story at all, I promise). I’ve already downloaded it and I hope it doesn’t keep me up too late tonight!

The Distance Between Us

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The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

How it begins: My eyes burn a hole in the page. I should know this. I can usually dissect a science equation easily, but the answer isn’t coming to me.

I finished this book not all that long ago, and as I’m writing this, I’m struggling to remember many details of the story. Not to say that it was a bad read, I don’t finish books that I struggle to read. I usually give them one chapter, at the most two and if they are hard to get through, I put them down. So, that wasn’t the case with this book. The characters were cute. They could have been made more interesting with some deeper backstories, more attention to secondary characters, and such.

I finished the book, and now, it’s just meh. I put it in the ‘finished’ pile, but not necessarily the ‘remembered’ pile. It was ok, but it could have been better.

How I Came to Sparkle Again

No matter what comes flying at you, don’t catch it. Step aside and let it fly by. Think of all those words as if they were balls bouncing around the room, like dodgeball. If you don’t catch them and throw them back, they’ll all lose their energy and end up on the floor behind you. Go through the motions in the physical world, but don’t participate on an energetic level.

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How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren

How it begins: It was fair to say Jill Anthony’s first day back at work had been a disaster – so much so, in fact, that her supervisor had sent her home early. She just wasn’t ready to be back. Enough time had not passed.

It was a long drive from home to Florida and this is one of the books that was savoured on the way. I so enjoyed this book. For some reason I haven’t read a whole lot of adult fiction as of late, and this book made me question why not. (Most likely because YA is so easy to get through and I have so many distractions…)

This is a wonderful story of loss and change. Making your way, through obstacles that were unexpected and nothing like you had planned for. The characters are funny and flawed, real and written with impact. Uncle Howard, how I wish he was mine. He was after my own heart. I read this one slower than I usually do and felt like I got to know the characters better. They resonated with me – their upheavals, their need for difference, their struggle to find their place.

Read it to remember the value of friendship, the answers that you can find in a book and the strength that hides within us all, even when we’re sure it’s gone.