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This is my entry this week for therealljidol. I invite you to read and vote for the many fine entries. This week's topic is "Some Assembly Required."

My first marriage, to a dreamer I call The Seeker, was doomed from the moment he crashed at the Hippie House where I was renting a room. He proposed to me within four months; we were married in just over a year. Soon after our first wedding anniversary, he left me, pressing into my hands a book my professor wrote about poetry in Vietnam that I have never had the heart to read. It took me years to collect the pieces of my fractured self. But as I reflect on it, all these years later, I can remember the beautiful moments, as well.

Please click on the image below to complete the puzzle I created about one such moment.

preview35 pieceDouble_rainbow-hope

For the visually impaired: the image is of a double rainbow over green and gold fields with a row of low, blue mountains in the distant background. At the bottom of the image is the following text: "My ex-husband and I saw a double rainbow on our aimless honeymoon trip to Canada. As we stood on the wet road, gazing in awe, I had no idea he would later choose his mental illness over me. I did not know I could not fix him. I was filled with hope."

The image, incidentally, did not come from that honeymoon, since we did not, incredibly, take any photos during our journey up the Mississippi from Missouri to Canada (I was between cameras). Instead, this photo comes from a more recent and more auspicious event, taken in May 2011 out a restaurant window where I was eating with my beloved sister, her husband, and some friends. My sister had just learned she was pregnant with her daughter.

For those who would like to view the completed image without doing the puzzle, I've uploaded the completed image.

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( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 30th, 2012 07:32 am (UTC)
I liked the creative way you used the prompt, so I took the effort to do the puzzle. Even though the photo isn't from the event you wrote about, it's still a lovely photo.
Jan. 30th, 2012 02:19 pm (UTC)
One of my fave photos: just being in the right place at the right time, with a camera. I didn't know until I checked for this photo on my Flickr account to confirm the date I took it, but I'd been invited to include the photo in several Flickr albums for "Most Beautiful Photo" and the like! I thought I'd include the real story of this particular photo both so people knew I took it and that it was from a later time but also because it's clearly from a high angle, which you could never get from a road lined with huge pines!
Jan. 30th, 2012 09:54 am (UTC)
I do love jigsaw puzzles. Very original use I've never seen before. Definitely vote worthy. So sorry about the marriage not working out for both of your sakes. I have a feeling there is a lot more to the story.

Well done.
Jan. 30th, 2012 02:21 pm (UTC)
Fell in love with this idea and had to try to do it! There is more to the story. If you look for the Seeker tag in my LJ you can find an entry I wrote in season 6 about it. I honestly couldn't tell that story so well twice, so I opted to do it sort of "Post Secret" fashion.
Jan. 30th, 2012 01:55 pm (UTC)
I did the puzzle -- that was a neat idea!
Jan. 30th, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC)
The idea came to me while my toddler was snoozing on me last night. I searched for "create online jigsaw puzzle" and found this wonderful site which allows you to create a puzzle from any photo. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Edited at 2012-01-30 02:24 pm (UTC)
Jan. 31st, 2012 01:45 am (UTC)
What a lovely way to remember things, even if it is a somewhat sad memory. It's good that you have happy to paint over that now.
Jan. 31st, 2012 08:06 am (UTC)
Indeed. It gets easier the more distance I have from it all.
Jan. 31st, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
That is so cool. My kids like puzzles but they are always losing the pieces. I will have to show them this:)

And I think you are happier now, so maybe it's good (though difficult at the time) that things didn't work out so that the happiness of now is possible.

I'm happy for your life now and for your sister's girl:)
Jan. 31st, 2012 08:08 am (UTC)
You can make the puzzles more complicated than the one I created. Your kids might enjoy making their own, or solving some of the ones already created on the site.

I definitely am happier than I would have been, had I stayed with my first husband. He was very difficult to live with. My sister's daughter was born the day after Christmas and is adorable!
Jan. 31st, 2012 03:04 am (UTC)
I couldn't do the puzzle (computer I'm using wasn't capable), but I think that was a very creative use of the prompt. I'm sorry you have such sad memories, but I'm glad you had positive experiences as well.
Jan. 31st, 2012 08:08 am (UTC)
Sorry you weren't able to do the puzzle. I hope you were able to view the completed picture that I uploaded.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm in a much better place now.
Jan. 31st, 2012 04:11 am (UTC)
I'm on my phone and can't complete the puzzle, but I have to say that was a very creative take on the topic!
Jan. 31st, 2012 08:09 am (UTC)
Thank you! Hopefully, you'll get a chance to check out the puzzle later from a computer. It's a lot of fun.
Jan. 31st, 2012 03:07 pm (UTC)
The text on the photo is lovely - I really like the devastating simplicity of "I had no idea he would later choose his mental illness over me. I did not know I could not fix him."
Feb. 1st, 2012 03:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It took a couple rewrites to condense it down that far. One of my challenges to myself this season has been to write prose that is as efficient as my poetry. Glad you liked it.
(no subject) - whipchick - Feb. 1st, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 31st, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're able to remember the good times as well as how it ended. And it's always hard to remember that we can't fix other people.
Feb. 1st, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
It was a valuable lesson. And also that someone has to want to change.
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Feb. 1st, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
Funny you say that, because I almost just posted the puzzle by itself. Then I decided I ought to provide a little more context. Glad you liked the idea.
Feb. 1st, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
Such a great idea, and I love the idea of the puzzle! It really speaks to how you chose you rebuild your world, and that it doesn't have to be just a partner/husband who completes the picture, rather the greater community with which you choose to surround yourself. I'm sad your first marriage didn't turn out as you'd hoped but I love that you're in a better place now :)
Feb. 1st, 2012 03:24 pm (UTC)
You express very well some of my motivations for doing my entry this way. I also liked the idea of rewarding readers for a little bit of work with a beautiful yet bittersweet memory. For me, that's what life is about: working your way past pain until you can appreciate life's beauty. I am in a better place now, but it took my previous experiences to really appreciate everything I have.
Feb. 1st, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
I love the puzzle pieces as a dynamic icon of your long journey.

Perhaps one day you'll be able to read that book of poems.

Feb. 1st, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
It's actually a book of poetry criticism about Vietnam War poetry that my poetry professor wrote with a co-author. It was a personal subject to my prof, since he himself fought in Vietnam. I have kept the book, and I suppose I will eventually read it.
Feb. 1st, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Interesting and interactive!
Feb. 1st, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, I wanted to do something a little different.
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Feb. 2nd, 2012 02:03 am (UTC)
Thank you! I thought it would be fun.
Feb. 2nd, 2012 02:00 am (UTC)
A fun way to use the prompt and engage the readers. Yay, I finished the puzzle, too!
Feb. 2nd, 2012 02:03 am (UTC)
Yay! I made it about the median level of difficulty, because I didn't want to make it too easy and also didn't want it to be too terribly time consuming. Glad you had fun with it!
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