I broke my favourite mug.

I was doing dishes. As I reached across the counter to place my mug on the drying mat, it smacked the bottom of a pint glass.


I thought I’d broken the pint glass. When I realized I had, in fact, taken a huge chunk out of Emily Dickinson’s hair, my eyes filled up with tears.

“oh. dammit.”

My sweetheart, out in the living room with our son, asked what happened. But I couldn’t answer right away, the lump in my throat kept my reply from reaching the air.

If I had been alone, I probably would have sobbed, but I knew how ridiculous my words were about to sound as I choked out, “I broke my favourite mug.”

It wasn’t really about the mug itself, it’s what it represented. It was inspiration, deep friendship, thoughtfulness. Love.

It was my coffee mug, tea mug, and occasionally, when everything else was packed for moving, it was a beer mug.

It was the mug which waited to the right of my keyboard or notebook when I’d sit down at my writing table for moments of creativity and divine inspiration.

It was given to me as a “no special reason” gift. Something my dear Red saw and knew was for me. On it, caricatures of women writers – Mary Shelley, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Louisa May Alcott. It’s been one of my favourite things for more than a decade. And on December 21st, it broke. On solstice. The longest night. The night we say goodbye to the darkness and welcome the light back in.

The symbolism is not lost on me.

Life loves to make me aware of subtle things. Quiet lessons. She prefers to whisper, rather than scream. To help me notice things more out of instinct and gentle perception, than giant banners and billboards. She likes to fly on gentle wings, but will occasionally flap with great fury if I’m not paying attention.

I will re-purpose the mug. For now. It will make a fine pen holder on my writing table. Which I need to get back to, refocus my attention on. My muse does not like it when I spend too much time away. My soul is not easy when my hands are not writing.

Whisper heard.