The Irish Writers Centre was closed for the long weekend, but some of us from the weekly writing workshop decided to meet anyway. Someone brought a list of prompts from from a website, we drew out one at random, and for 30 minutes we’d  write about “How does a broken plate feel?”….


He missed his family.

Mum and Dad, the big dinner plates. His brothers and sisters, his fellow side plates. He even missed his little nieces and nephews, the saucers.

He didn’t miss his cousins, the cups. They looked down on his family, quite literally n the case of his nieces and nephews.

He had been injured before, of course. He had a chip out of one side from banging himself against a sideboard. His faced had been scarred and scratched by over-enthusiastic Brillo Pads. His daily bath in the dishwasher had removed the “Made in Taiwan” tattoo from his bottom.

But this injury had been too bad. He had been placed too close to the side of a tabled teetered and wobbled for a moment and then had slipped off. He had hung in mid-air for a split-second like Wile E Coyote in the cartoons, and then gravity had taken over.

Wile E Coyote usually left a hole in his own shape  in the ground, but he had simply broken into four pieces.

He had heard of distant, very distant relatives from places like Wedgewood and Ming who upon receiving such injuries would be painstakingly restored to continue their existences, permanently high from the smell of the glue that now held them together.

Ordinary working-class plates like him were not treated as well, since a two-tier Health System also applied to crockery. He had been swept onto a strange flt plastic shovel, the lid of the kitchen-bin had jolted open at astonishing speed, and he had been slid inside.

That’s where he was now, along with a banana-skin, a sock who had lost its twin and, by supreme irony, a retired Brillo Pad.

The Brillo Pad saw him and had grace to blush, feat which it achieved by squeezing some its pink goo briefly to its surface.

“No hard feelings?” it said.

The Pads attentions had used to make him feel as if he was being kissed by someone with stubble, but what was the point of complainig about that now. They were headed together, he knew, for some place called Recycling, so what was the point of re-cycling old grudges.

“I suppose not,” he replied.


That’s as far as I got, though I don’t think there’s much further I could have gone. Oh, and I read it out again. I’m getting braver.


7 thoughts on “Shattered

  1. Pseu

    What a challenge! ‘How does a broken plate feel?’…

    I think this is a brilliant response… how did the others fare?

  2. A Frend

    The only problem with your (funny as usual) Writers’ Centre stuff is that you don’t have time to give it the structure that is one (just one of many) of the things that make your blog posts excellent.
    Which is not a criticism, because they’re still very funny, but it’s made me realise how well you use structure in your blog posts.

  3. Tinman Post author

    The others were really good, Pseu. One wrote about Greek plates at a wedding, one took the sentence as being asked by an actual person (“How does a broken plate feel?” asked Dervla) and then wrote about the pain felt in this person’s life, one wrote a poem that had only about thirty words in it, but was absolutely wonderful.

    And I do feel a bit as if I’m cheating, Frend, when I put them on here unedited and unfinished, but if I don’t do it they’ll just be forgotten, and in most cases I haven’t thought up proper endings for them anyway.


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