birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Better Broken Than Not At All

I think it was Mark Twain who said "Better a broken promise than no promise at all..." or something akin to that. If his assumption was correct (and Twain's assumptions were frequently correct), does that mean all the "I promise" statements I've dolled out in my life and never made good on still have some value?

That would be nice seeing as how I have broken more than a few promises in my life--from simple ones like "I promise that I will put that check in the mail today (back when you could kite checks and I needed to kite mine in order to make ends meet) to "I promise to love, honor, and obey" (back when I really didn't think too hard about the "obey" part of that vow). I've certainly broken those and many other promises in my life and I suspect there will be more to come, but does that make me a bad person?

I like to think that most of the promises I have broken were not broken out of malice or to intentionally deceive anyone but were made out of necessity or overly optimistic thinking or something such as that--except maybe the ones to debtors about those checks being in the mail. I prefer to call that kind of untruth a necessary prevarication rather than a case of playing it false.

Now another question, if I break a promise, does that make me a liar or just a reneger? Perhaps intent is key to that one... What about those promises made in a moment of passion (or at least infatuation) when I honestly believed that I meant words like "I promise I will love you forever" or "I promise I will never leave you." Ah, those are tough ones because they are usually genuine in origin, but are often unsustainable.

So many things to think about when it comes to the topic of promises--the ones I have broken, the ones others have broken to me, the promise of something wonderful that became something terrible, the "I swear I'll do it" I am swearing now to myself: I will revisit this prompt someday soon, I promise.

What Is Essence Anyway?

Never Say Never