Broken

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images

I am a collector of broken things. Usually I’m the one who did the breaking – butterfingers is a kind term for what happens when breakable objects come within reach of my hands. And broken things linger; I have a spot for them – a home – to wait until I get around to applying the glue that will make them whole again. It can take years before that happens, however. Once broken, it takes me a long time to find edges that match and patterns that connect. The piece waits to tell its story.

This is the story of a book I broke.

I didn’t know I was doing it at the time. In fact, I thought I was fixing it. I thought that the character that had been handed to me would make the book. I thought he would save it.

I wasn’t fond of him, that Druid interloper, but as his story spun itself out in my head, I knew he belonged. It was his story, just as much as it was mine – just as much as it was the story of the characters that populated it long before he made his appearance.

So I broke it – even as I kept writing the second and then the third book in the series, I was working with a mutilated thing, a limping shadow. It had so much potential, but I couldn’t find it. He felt out of place, as though he hadn’t had time to come to love the other characters as I did. And they – well, they resented him almost as much as I did. His edges and patterns did not match. I was afraid they never would.

I relegated it to a dusty corner of my mind, to wait with all the other broken things, until I could see it fully. It took a decade.

When the Druid stepped out of that corner, fully himself, I realized the book could be whole again. I sat down right away and started typing. I called it a revision at first, but it became obvious, as I wrote in my 500-word-a-day chunks, that it was more than that. I was putting the story back together, the way it was supposed to be told.

The edges – where the Druid started and the story he adopted ended – were mended. The patterns – the weave of his life as it affected the clan who made him – burned brightly. Instead of a jumble of pieces, it became a tapestry. Each thread was lovely but the tale they told left me breathless. Good or not – quality fiction or not – that it gave itself to me, and waited for me to fix it, means a great deal to me.

The story that was broken is now whole – and I love it. I even admire, just a little, the Druid who trusted me enough to wait until I was ready. Thanks, D.

This was for Prompts for the Promptless at Queen Creative: Kintsukuroi is a Japanese noun meaning “to repair with gold”; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Check out these other “Broken” prompts: