NYT Prompt 001: We Collected Broken Glass

They say that the best way to get back into writing is to practice your craft daily, even if what you are writing is an abomination that should never grace the eyes of the public. One of the most common suggestions that follows that advice is to start a journal. In a way, I have decided to do that. While a blog does mirror a journal in some ways, when I think of a journal in the traditional sense, I typically imagine a diary: a collection of extremely personal thoughts and ideas meant to never see the light of day. With that in mind, I’ve decided instead to tackle my writing slump by taking a shot at the New York Time‘s list of 500 prompts. My goal is to post my response to at least one of these prompts daily, and thus here is the first one:

Prompt: What was your most precious childhood possession?

For most people, the comfort and warmth offered by a particular stuffed animal or tattered, old blanket is often the first thing that comes to mind when they are asked about their most valued childhood possession. Most don’t admit that they placed a lot of value in pieces of broken glass. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I do not count myself among those that are defined as the general populace, and so I proudly divulge this information. Of course, that isn’t to say that my parents, or in this case grandparents, as I spent most of my time under their care while partaking in this odd collecting, were neglectful; in fact, they were quite the opposite. My collection of broken glass was weathered by the elements, and thus my grandparents were able to find comfort in the fact that there was no chance of sharp edges piercing my tender, young flesh.

I actually did have a prized stuffed animal – a few of them, actually. My favorite was a stuffed rabbit, which my grandfather and I called H. D. Rabbit. For whatever reason, it is the broken glass that I carefully harvested from the faded rocks of my grandparents’ driveway that I hold dearest to my heart, and I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that at the time in which I was collecting these pieces of glass, I truly believed they were a strange oddity of nature which I affectionately named in the manner of a child “green rocks.” It didn’t cross my mind until I was into my adult years that my precious green rocks were nothing more than refuse that had been worn down by nature’s endless embrace.

Oddly enough, I was not alone in this peculiar hobby; one of my cousins and my sister also shared in the gathering of green rocks. As we grew older, I ended up in possession of an amalgam of our collections, which I still have to this day – I just do not remember where it is. Admitting to this odd passion is a bit weird, but looking back on the memories, I am certain our green rock collections amused our parents and grandparents to no end – especially when we would spend hours trying to fit the pieces together as if they were parts of an extremely advanced puzzle. In a way, I suppose they were.

Somewhere, among my things, there is an old Skippy peanut butter jar with no label and it is filled with pieces of broken glass. Thinking about that, and the memories that are associated with it, makes me smile. My cousin has passed on from this world, and I can imagine him watching me write this and laughing at the absurdity of our childhood antics.

Liked it? Take a second to support E. M. Jenkinson on Patreon!