Tuesday Tryouts: Broken

19 Feb

7:34 a.m. — Atlanta

… listening to No Myth sung by Michael Penn [did you know there is a third Penn? I didn’t either until my son’s blog today]. Hello, all.

glass in hands small_497400686In Zagreb, Croatia there exists a unique museum: The Museum of Broken Relationships. The name catches me every time I read it. On their About Page, they say: The Museum of Broken Relationships grew from a traveling exhibition revolving around the concept of failed relationships and their ruins. Unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from failed loves, the Museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the Museum’s collection.

Whatever the motivation for donating personal belongings – be it sheer exhibitionism, therapeutic relief, or simple curiosity – people embraced the idea of exhibiting their love legacy as a sort of a ritual, a solemn ceremony.  Our societies oblige us with our marriages, funerals, and even graduation farewells, but deny us any formal recognition of the demise of a relationship, despite its strong emotional effect.

I thought we might broaden the focus a little. The relationship does not have to be a romantic one. Think for a glass small__7170194294moment, then list, the broken relationships you [or someone you know, or a total stranger you read about] have had. This might include: a first crush, a close friend, first love, a relative, employer, employee… anything where a bond was involved.

Next to each, jot the artifacts[s] you associate with your time together, actual if you can remember, symbolic if you don’t. What would you place in your exhibit of the relationship?

glass medium_4583896424Choose what you are going to go with. Consider the poem as an exhibit. Through focusing on the artifact[s], reveal the relationship, or an aspect of the relationship, or the breaking of the relationship.

While most definitions of ‘broken’ are negative, I see no reason you can’t write humourously.  The definition ‘out of working order’ puts a wry spin on the word. Decide on the speaker’s tone of voice. Decide how involved you want your speaker to be, first person, third person, even, in this case, second person, addressing the small_323080671

Avoid abstract, vague statements and clichés. Look for specific details and sensory imagery. Above all, have fun putting together your exhibit of a broken relationship [I know that sounds paradoxical, but fun can be had].

I don’t often include images, but glass as an overall symbol for a relationship works well. Besides, it was fun looking at all the broken glass. I shall see you Thursday for some words of wisdom from Henry Miller; Friday for the weekly prompts roundup; and next Tuesday for this month’s image prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 19/02/2013 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , ,

42 responses to “Tuesday Tryouts: Broken

  1. julespaige

    19/02/2013 at 9:02 am

    One tree in a forest… a particular one. I’ll post the verse link here Wednesday (gee that is tomorrow already isn’t it) because it was actually written for a We Write Poems Prompt.

  2. spinningblackbirds

    19/02/2013 at 9:22 am

    Love this idea.
    My life is a museum of broken relationships.

    • margo roby

      19/02/2013 at 9:38 am

      I’m laughing, with sympathy. It might be interesting to do a poem that is a series of exhibits.

  3. The Happy Amateur

    19/02/2013 at 10:21 am

    never heard about this museum. Interesting. I’ve just written something prompted by dVerse and the “Cohen theme.” I think it fits, although I would say it’s more about a chipped relationship (rather than broken)

    I’ll try to write something new later.

    • margo roby

      19/02/2013 at 3:15 pm

      I like chipped. Chipped is interesting. I’ll be over in a moment.

      the museum has only been up and running a couple of years.

      • The Happy Amateur

        19/02/2013 at 5:34 pm

        So, I guess my contribution to the museum would be a burning stack of wings 🙂
        Thank you for visiting me, Margo.

  4. vivinfrance

    19/02/2013 at 11:46 am

    This is somewhere I just don’t want to go! My mood is sufficiently in the doldrums to decline to deepen it further. Sorry, Margo – I usually love your prompts but this one is a non-starter for me.

    • margo roby

      19/02/2013 at 1:07 pm

      That’s okay, ViV. you know it is. Although if it occurs to you that you have a humourous broken relationship with the butcher, say, it might be fun. A whole different kind of relationship. Otherwise, I shall see you next time.

  5. Hannah Gosselin

    19/02/2013 at 12:22 pm

    Cool and crazy…I was already writing this topic and I started it by jotting yesterday afternoon, (that, I never do), I was working more on it this morning and then found that we were literally on the same exact page when I arrived here! Hmm…interesting.

    Thank you, Margo and a smile, too. 🙂

  6. Ruth

    19/02/2013 at 2:44 pm

    Awesome prompt, I can see myself revisiting this theme time and again (the name of that museum will haunt me, I know). My poem is here:

    • margo roby

      19/02/2013 at 3:19 pm

      Thank you, Ruth. The name of the museum has haunted me from the day I came across it. While not the happiest of themes, there is something about broken, isn’t there?

  7. julespaige

    20/02/2013 at 9:31 am

    A two prompts for one poem: Enjoy…

    My artifact – the piece of the tree with the carved heart.

  8. Carol Carlisle

    20/02/2013 at 1:19 pm

    This prompt took me so deep that it may be weeks before I will be able to surface with a coherent response. Thank you for the doorway.

  9. Carol Carlisle

    20/02/2013 at 1:52 pm

    Margo I used one of your Ideas as a suggestion for Wonder Wednesday with a link to you.

    • margo roby

      21/02/2013 at 7:40 am

      Thank you for letting me know, carol. I’ll wander over in a bit 🙂

  10. Misky

    20/02/2013 at 5:22 pm

    Hello. I used a few spare words floating about my desk.

  11. Carol Carlisle

    21/02/2013 at 5:08 pm

    Lost and found or broken and vanished here is something for the museum of broken relationships

  12. purplepeninportland

    21/02/2013 at 10:50 pm

    Here’s me on display.

    • margo roby

      22/02/2013 at 7:27 am

      It’s funny you put it that way, Sara. I have a strong image of each of us with a poem in a display case, wandering around checking out the other artifacts.

  13. Ruth

    22/02/2013 at 1:04 pm

    I had another go at the prompt (told you that title would haunt me!):

    • margo roby

      22/02/2013 at 1:06 pm

      I got the pingback first, so have already visited.

      I have been carrying the name around for three years. I don’t suppose it will ever quite leave. There is something about it.

      • Ruth

        22/02/2013 at 1:11 pm

        I noticed that so I thought I’d better hurry up and link. 😉

        And yes, definitely something about it… so glad you brought it to my attention in this post.

  14. whimsygizmo

    24/02/2013 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for the great prompt, Margo. Finally finishing one that’s been gnawing at me all week:

    • margo roby

      24/02/2013 at 2:39 pm

      Congratulations on that, de. I know how it is.

  15. pmwanken

    27/02/2013 at 4:49 pm

    hi margo…this prompt has been gnawing at me, too. I’ve wanted to avoid it (for much the same reason ViV mentioned, above)…but brokenness often finds its way into my poems. I’ve written a couple recently that were for other prompts but have had a bit of influence from this prompt, as well…though they may contain a bit too much cliche or abstract to really fit your prompt. Meh. Here ya go. 😉

    • margo roby

      28/02/2013 at 2:21 pm

      Well, hello and welcome. I’ve missed you.

      No excuses, I offered breakups with the butcher, or the hair stylist :-).

      • pmwanken

        28/02/2013 at 3:03 pm

        I’ve been lurking…just not writing much. Or posting much. I need to change that.


  16. pmwanken

    05/03/2013 at 2:00 pm

    “Broken” seems to work its way into a lot of my stuff…here’s what I wrote this week on the topic:


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