When I was told the topic choices for this post I was on a see saw about which one to go with… heartbreak or bad advice? Bad advice often leads to heartbreak and vice versa. Who hasn’t taken the bad advice to go ahead and eat all the Cherry Garcia in the freezer post heartbreak? But in the end, I went with the topic that resonated the most with me and since I’ve never been one to take advice, heart break it is.
But I also don’t want to be a downer… so I am going with the things that broke my heart out of sheer joy and I will keep it from being cheesy by focusing on art…we can all agree that music, books or movies can be heartbreaking—even if we can’t always agree on which ones fit the bill. SO without further ado…
I have been to two concerts that blew my mind and broke my heart with the sheer beauty of the moment. The first was when I went to see the U2 concert, June 3rd 2011 at Quest Field in Seattle. For those of us who call the Pacific Northwest home, planning anything outside in June is very risky indeed, but after waiting for 25 years to see U2 in concert, I wasn’t going to pass up the chance, rain or no. It was quite simply one of the most beautiful days in Seattle you can possibly have…the best weather in nine months. From where we sat, (admittedly in nose bleed) we could see the sun set over the Puget Sound, and to hear them do Sunday, Bloody Sunday and it’s a Beautiful Day was heartbreakingly beautiful.
The second heart breaking musical moment was astonishing only because I totally hadn’t expected it. My son and I went to a concert last December to see the Killers, (who were awesome by the way), and ended up being completely blown away by M83. Their sound was fresh, new, and totally surprising. It’s hard to describe the web of magic they wove over the arena, but it was so heartbreakingly perfect it moved me to tears.
Other Contenders for Musical Heartbreak? Phantom of the Opera, Eric Clapton (Have you seen him do Tears From Heaven Live?) and Josh Groban, (I’m convinced God kissed his throat at birth)
I have cried over my share of books, but some of them have drove me to my knees with emotion. The first was Beach Music by Pat Conroy. His gorgeous, adjective-laden prose told a story of such heartbreaking beauty, that I sobbed uncontrollably at a half a dozen different points of the book. It was so complex and multi-layered that I cried with heartbreak, joy and laughter.
The second book that made me sob, heartbroken was the attic moment in Joshilyn Jackson’s fine novel, Gods in Alabama. Another multi-layered book with both uproarious laughter and tragic tears. But that moment in the attic… the revelation… happy sigh. Heartbreaking.
Another heartbreaking literary moment happened not too long ago when I was writing the third Summerset Abbey book, SPRING AWAKENING. I’ve become teary eyed as I wrote scenes before, but I’ve never sobbed out loud over a scene like I did in that book. And not just one scene, but two. My husband came in from the garage, took one look and asked, “Is that over your own book?” When I answered yes, he just shook his head and went back out. What can I say? Writers are crazy.
Other contenders for literary heartbreak? Where the Red Fern Grows, Lords of Discipline, The Outsiders, and The Yearling.
First off, Love Actually because of THAT MOMENT when Keira Knightly watches her wedding video and realizes her husband’s best friend is in love with her and he walks out and it doesn’t even matter that it’s DIDO singing in the background because the whole scene is just so romantic and beautiful and tragic it makes you feel all tangled and gooshy and HEARTBROKEN inside. (Deep breath.) THAT MOMENT.
The second one was Casablanca. Yeah, I know. Totally cliché. In fact, I thought I was totally armed against it because it was old and cheesy and in black and white. So I was completely taken aback when I bawled like a baby at the end. It was the music--that gorgeous, classic song that finally broke me.
Other contenders for the heartbreaking movie award? The Little Princess, Black Beauty, Sophie’s Choice, and The Secret Garden.
As the icy chill of winter, 1914, settles on the magnificent country estate of Summerset Abbey, three young women seek comfort and warmth in the smiles of friends, the fire in their hearts, and the promise of spring. . . .
With her delicate constitution but strong, unflappable spirit, Victoria has never followed societal conventions, the rules of fashion, or the pursuit of a husband. Instead, she finds herself drawn into the controversial—and dangerous—fight for women’s suffrage. But her dream is compromised, and her heart divided, when her struggle for equal rights collides with unexpected love.
After yearning to no avail for a certain young pilot to fly back into her life, Rowena fears her chances for happiness have been jeopardized by recklessness and scandal. Burdened with guilt for bringing her sister Prudence to Summerset Abbey as a lady’s maid while she herself led a life of privilege, Rowena hopes to one day make amends. But her desire to set things right is complicated by her passion for flight and a sudden engagement . . . to the wrong man.
Raised like a sister to Victoria and Rowena, then banished to the servants’ quarters when their father passed away, Prudence has seen both sides of life, upstairs and down. But once the truth about her parentage was revealed, Prudence forged a new life for herself, married to a penniless veterinary student. Living in poverty in a shabby London flat, she wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake— and there’s no turning back. . . .
Other books in the series: SUMMERSET ABBEY (#1) released January 15, 2013; and SPRING AWAKENING (Summerset Abbey #3) August 6, 2013.
TJ Brown is passionate about books, writing, history, dachshunds and mojitos. If she could go back in time, she would have traveled back to England, 1910, Paris, 1927 or Haight-Ashbury, 1967. She resides in the burbs of Portlandia, where she appreciates the weirdness, the microbreweries, hoodies, Voodoo Donuts and the rain.