Broken Glass

Scene of the crime

Every night for the past 25 years, I’ve set a glass of water on my night table. Last night, was no different. Except, as I reached across to turn off the lamp, I bumped the glass. It must’ve hit the corner of the table just so because it shattered into hundreds of wickedly gleaming pieces.

On my hands and knees, first picking up the larger bits and then vacuuming, I puzzled: why tonight? I had followed that pattern 365 days in a row for 25 years. What was different this time?

I was more irritated than thoughtful last night. But this morning on my walk with Winston it occurred to me that as writers, those glass-shattering moments are exactly the ones we exist for. There is no story in the woman who sets her glass of water on her bedstand each night. The story is born when she forgets to put it out or she somehow bumps it and sends it to its fractured end.

So I’m going to take a look at the idea that’s been percolating for awhile to see what I can break to give the story a chance to shine like those shards of glass in the lamplight.

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