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CRY Magazine

I broke a plate today, and wrote about it

Art by Agnes (Author)

Bright and early, before the day really started, I went into the kitchen and, accidentally, broke a plate.

At any other point in the day, my reflexes might have helped me catch it.
At any other point in the day, I might have realized that removing the clean dishes from the rack was better done when one is awake and in possession of Jenga-like, laser focus.
But it didn’t occur at any other point in the day.

When something like this happens early in the day, it’s natural to think: “we’re off to a great start today.” I might have texted my mother a photo of the plate with that same sarcastic caption. The irrational mind can’t help seeing it as an omen for the many hours ahead, even as the rational one cringes at the thought.

I tell myself to shake it off. It’s just a plate. Sure, you won’t replace it with the same type, because you bought it a year ago and your set will now be one short, so what? Breathe. Like literally: breathe. My brain thinks in too-long sentences, and even when I don’t say them out loud, it leaves me winded, and it’s way too early.

I look at the pieces of broken plate and try to find an alternative meaning to “bad omen”. (Yes, I am aware most people would just pack it up, chuck it out, and move on with their day. Let’s blame the artistic tendencies and do this instead).

My mother texts me back: “it happens, ask the greeks.” Wise woman.

The Greeks say plate smashing, rather than breaking. I think it makes it sound more intentional. There’s an actual intention and force behind smashing that breaking falls short of. Don’t you think? In “breaking”, you almost see the torn pieces. There’s something about the combination of letters, the phonetics of it, that sounds like the “k” is tearing the word in half. “Smashing”, on the other hand, conveys full force, one-direction, plaster-plate to the floor.

Once upon a time, Greeks smashed or “killed” plates when mourning. The only thing I lost here was the actual plate; it’s too early to be mourning anything else. According to the highly questioned — but more highly consulted — Wikipedia, they also threw plates in the fireplace as a display of wealth: “why wash the dishes, when we can just get new ones?” Not identifying with the Greeks, I kept looking at the shards of the plate. Kintsugi comes to mind too.

“Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.” [1]

I’m not gluing it with gold (or with glue for that matter) but I love this concept so I let my mind play with it.

I broke a plate today and wrote about it. This is what we do, right? We observe, we notice, we process, exploit, embellish. Pretty sure it contributes next to nothing to our darling blogosphere, but I do feel better about the broken plate. Thou has not perished in vain. Your transparent circular form has been reconstructed in a convoluted circular blog post.

Since I wrote about the million unpublished drafts I own, and I didn’t write about the fear of running out of ideas, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing. Why do we write? How do we write? When do we write? I think we are writing all the time. I think writing is the act of noticing things and matching what we notice with the words we know. I couldn’t answer the “why” in just one sentence but, to bring it full circle, I’ll say this: it often brings a sense of calm.

I broke a plate today and wrote about it, and it’s fine.

[1] Tiffany Ayuda, How the Japanese art of Kintsugi can help you deal with stressful situations, NBC News, Updated April 28, 2018, 9:59 AM -03

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Agnes

Agnes

Slow runner, fast walker. I have dreamed in different languages. I read a lot. Yes, my curls are real.

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