Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Price of Beauty

We bought a table. Six foot long, extending to nine foot, 100% oak. The old table, which was bought by my parents-in-law thirty years ago, was given to us in the mid nineties when we needed to furnish the house to rent out while we were abroad. We gave it away on Freecycle. The first lady who viewed it said we were mad.
"Do you know how much you'd get for this in a retro shop?" she panted, trying to bludgeon it into her boot. We will never know. Nor will she.
The second lady brought a bigger car and took it away, proclaiming her gratitude. We waved her off, smiling. It's pleasing to give away something for nothing, although as I didn't actually like the table, I wonder if this counts?

Every morning, I open the kitchen door and get a frisson of pleasure when I see the new one. The smooth lines, the square corners, the light teasing warmth from wood. I love natural materials - wood, stone, wicker. I could fill my home with them ten times over, look at them all day and never be sated. So it's a good job I'm unlikely to ever be rich. I doubt God could trust me with too much money. It's not a good idea with people who have a weakness for beauty.

Fortunately, God satisfies my beauty-thing in other ways too - a sunset, a tree, a snowdrop in a crack of concrete. And of course, through reading. I do enjoy a good plot, but I cannot read a book that isn't beautifully written.

People drove their cars with the windows down and fragments of music littered the streets.

And it came to pass, in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed...

Granny is seventy-seven years old, going on seventy-eight. She's not very good at it either. You can tell she's old because her face looks like newspaper stuffed into wet shoes... 

Something had come to her on the tail feather of a dream, and it had blown over the landscape of sleep just before light and she hadn't been able to grasp it and pull it back before it disappeared over the horizon and disintegrated in the heat of a rising sun...

When, against all odds, over time, your heart softens towards truly heinous behaviour on the part of parents, children, siblings and almost everyone's exes,you have to believe something not of this earth snuck into your stone cold heart.

These are a few things of beauty I have read lately. I dream of writing as well as this, but I have a long, long way to go.

For now, I will read and dream and admire wood and wicker and the way the sun casts off in amber. And tap away on my keyboard hopefully. And thank God I have no need of money to enjoy beauty in the world.

Click on the link to see the book on Amazon

Deborah Jenkins is a part-time teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on writing school textbooks for Macmillan. She is also writing a full length novel. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver


  1. I enjoyed this, Deborah, but I only recognised one of the quotations. Where are the others from, please? Sue

  2. Lovely post, full of the usual warmth and thought. I love the tail feather quotation. BTW, should you ever come into those millions, and feel you can't be trusted with the money, you know where to come, don't you? x

    1. Haha! I will bear you in mind should I need someone trustworthy to spend them ;) Thanks Fran.

  3. Thanks you Sue! Appreciate it as it was written at speed late last night. (Naughty). They are from, The Trouble with Sheep and Goats, My Grandmother sends her Regards and Apologises, A Year of Marvellous Ways, Small Victories - all beautifully written books. And, as you know, the Bible.

  4. I too have a need for beauty (and, as it happens, a newish oak table!) Happily there is much to enjoy that costs nothing. Equally there is plenty of soul-deadening ugliness and mediocrity about as well, but that's our world. We have to be thankful for the slivers of God we see and keep our senses attuned. Your examples of writing were lovely, and I think you already write beautifully. Just so long as we as writers avoid the purple in our search for beauty and originality. There's much to be said for clarity and simplicity in prose.

  5. That is so true. It's the sort of writerly equivalent of liking natural materials, I guess, rather than the man made things that don't reflect light and colour in the same way. Thanks Aggie!

  6. This post resonated with me Deborah. Wood is a thing of beauty. And my small fictional character Jay would completely agree :)

  7. I'm so pleased. Please tell him I appreciate his like-mindedness! Thanks Mandy x