Beneath The Crust

Deep frown creases,

Scarce laughter-

The crust kept nosy neighbors at bay.

Photos lined

upon his mantle

Chronicled joyful days.

Now, at his core,

Beats a fragile heart-

Pumping misery through his veins.


I have found that sometimes the crankiest people have unexpectedly caring hearts.  I’ve been able to get past the crusty exterior on a few and found their gruff exterior was built to protect their hearts from further pain.  The sad part is, loneliness caused a different kind of pain.

TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekend writing prompt, which left much to interpretation:

On to the weekend challenge.  As you’ll recall from your elementary science class days, the structure of the earth can be divided most simply into three sections: core, mantle, crust.  Give us 33 words from it.  Interpret the prompt however you wish–literal, metaphorical, or somewhere in between.

If you’d like to try the challenge yourself, or read others’ interpretations of the prompt, you can check out Trifecta’s site by clicking on the tricycle picture in this post.  I hope you have a beautiful weekend!


80 thoughts on “Beneath The Crust

  1. joetwo January 4, 2013 / 8:28 AM

    Nice metaphor!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:49 AM

      Thanks, Joe. Appreciate you reading it.

  2. Kir Piccini January 4, 2013 / 8:28 AM

    oh this was beautiful. I could feel the ache of his soul, feel the pushing away of others because you feel too much, care too much.

    Janna, the core of ourselves is the most fragile isn’t it?


    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:53 AM

      We all have our armor, Kir. It could be grouchiness, shyness or even humor (or a combination of barriers.) We do whatever it takes to keep our heart (core) protected. Thanks so much for reading and leaving your encouraging comment. I do look forward to your comments!

  3. mindofshoo January 4, 2013 / 8:43 AM

    OH I just loved this. I can relate to the protecting heart. This certainly touched me, to my “core”. 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:55 AM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, Mindofshoo! (P.S. Hope you don’t mind, but I fixed the typo and deleted your second comment.)

  4. Cobbie's World January 4, 2013 / 8:52 AM

    Well now, isn’t that just the best little gem of a story. Very true about those crusty types.

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:23 AM

      Thanks for reading, Cobbie’s World. The crusty ones are a challenge sometimes 🙂

  5. Dawn Lamond January 4, 2013 / 9:06 AM

    Aw, I want to hug him! *hug* Great use of imagery and interpretation of the photo, taking us from his face to his fireplace to his very heart. Nicely done! 😀

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:24 AM

      Thanks, Dawn! Hard to describe three layers in 33 words. I’m glad it seems to work here 🙂

  6. nomoremsvanilla January 4, 2013 / 11:26 AM

    A really great piece. I thought your interpretation of “crust” was particularly creative; I never would have thought of using it that way! 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:26 AM

      I’m glad you liked the poem, Nomoremsvanilla. I appreciate you taking time to read and share your thoughts!

  7. JasmineKyleSings January 4, 2013 / 1:16 PM

    Fragile heart pumping misery!!! OOH Wonderful poem. Dead ON some people who seem mean are full of hope…

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:29 AM

      I’m happy you liked that line, Jasmine! The key is persevering until you get past the crust.

  8. Debbie January 4, 2013 / 2:10 PM

    Absolutely true, Janna. Sometimes, what seem to be the meanest people are the ones who feel they must be mean to cover up their sadness/vulnerability. That, in itself, is sad, isn’t it?

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:34 AM

      It is sad, Debbie. My knee-jerk reaction is to snap back in defense, but after I think about, I realize the meanness wasn’t about me at all. I’m glad you stopped by today. Hope you have a great weekend!

  9. deanabo January 4, 2013 / 2:16 PM

    This is really good. I love how you worked this prompt!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:35 AM

      Thanks, Deanabo. I appreciate you stopping by to read it 🙂

  10. cuhome January 4, 2013 / 2:52 PM

    Yes, it’s those crusty old souls who have the most fascinating stuff underneath!! You just have to crack that surface! Nicely done, Janna.

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:35 AM

      I bet you’ve encountered a few in your line of work, Janet 🙂 Haven’t seen you around much lately – I’m glad you dropped by!

  11. diannegray January 4, 2013 / 3:20 PM

    It made me feel so lonely for him, Janna! I just want to give him a hug…

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:37 AM

      I’m glad you felt something after reading this, Dianne. I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to try a hug so soon, though 🙂

  12. Tara R. January 4, 2013 / 5:47 PM

    Curmudgeons are people too.. this was lovely. I had an elderly friend who was ‘crusty,’ but once you got to know her, she was really very sweet.

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:38 AM

      ‘Curmudgeons’ – I like that word, Tara! Yes, a few are mean to the core, but I think many are like your friend…if we just give them time to soften.

  13. Corinne January 4, 2013 / 6:32 PM

    I have known many patients just like this – and my own heart hurts for them. Fantastic.

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:39 AM

      I read on your page that you were a nurse. I imagine you get people at their worst – if they are normally cranky, it’s only made worse if they are sick. Thanks for stopping by, Corinne!

  14. sonsothunder January 4, 2013 / 7:54 PM

    For a minute there I thought you were writing about me …
    Then you typed this: “sometimes the crankiest people have unexpectedly caring hearts”
    ~Happy New Year~

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:41 AM

      Hahaha, you’re funny, Sonsofthunder! It’s been a long time since you’ve visited – I’m glad you decided to stop by today. I hope you have a happy New Year as well 🙂

  15. Tina January 4, 2013 / 11:00 PM

    Some of my best friendships started off with someone deciding to see through my general crankiness. Very touching!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:45 AM

      I didn’t imagine you as cranky, Tina. We all have our quirks though. I can be sarcastic (but I’m nice about it)…I wonder if others might see me as cranky, too Interesting thought!

  16. Kim Song January 4, 2013 / 11:38 PM

    Last two lines were sent shivers up my spine! Very powerful stuff!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:46 AM

      Thanks, Kim! I’m glad you liked the ending.

  17. atrm61 January 5, 2013 / 12:24 AM

    Yes,you are so right Janna-the crusty exterior is sometimes a defence,a facade!Loved it ,especially the last line,”pumping misery through his veins”-fantastic!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 12:48 AM

      I really appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts on the poem, Atreyee! When approached cautiously, crusty people can turn out to be different than expected 🙂

      • atrm61 January 5, 2013 / 1:53 AM

        :-)Yes,but most people are scared to approach such “crusty” people-I know I am!

        • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 6:54 PM

          Sometimes they are intimidating…there are some even I steer clear of 🙂

        • atrm61 January 5, 2013 / 10:59 PM

          Ha!ha!I know a few of those too;-)

  18. braintomahawk January 5, 2013 / 7:39 AM

    Magnificent – you mixed physical and metaphorical ideas. Thanks for sharing, you continue to amaze!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 6:55 PM

      I appreciate you stopping by to read the poem, BT. Haven’t seen you around in a while…hope your new year is off to a good start 🙂

  19. Tessa January 5, 2013 / 11:09 AM

    Another different interpretation. Touching!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 6:56 PM

      Thanks, Tessa. As with all challenges, it’s fun to see how others see the prompt!

  20. Stephanie B. (@B4Steph) January 5, 2013 / 11:52 AM

    The joy is obscured through the crusty defense. I once knew an old codger like this. I enjoyed his crusty demeanor so I overlooked it. He went to his grave with that righteous outlook fully intact. I think about him sometimes and hope that he knew he was loved by a few. Your short piece evoked his memory for me – and I’m glad of it. Isn’t that what writing is all about? You do it well!

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 7:05 PM

      Thanks for the compliment, Stephanie! I wonder if we’ve all known someone like that. It helps that you found the crustiness enjoyable. If we aren’t in the right mindset, the negativity can be a drain.

  21. barbara January 5, 2013 / 12:20 PM

    fragile heart pumping misery . . . such a good description of so many. Nicely done

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 7:05 PM

      Thanks, Barbara. I appreciate you reading it!

  22. Lumdog January 5, 2013 / 1:45 PM

    This is poignant and sad and the writing is beautiful. It’s great you take the time to get to know the inner person.

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2013 / 7:06 PM

      I’m glad you liked the poem, Lumdog. I haven’t taken the time to get to know every crusty person. It kind of depends on how strong I am at that time 🙂

  23. rebecca2000 January 5, 2013 / 7:43 PM

    I love the metaphor. You did a wonderful job with this Janna.

  24. Gina January 5, 2013 / 8:14 PM

    Defense, defense. It seems that’s always the first instinct, self preservation. This was great, Janna!

    • humanTriumphant January 5, 2013 / 9:29 PM

      You’ve captured the essence of how hurt expands over time to change people – very well expressed.

      • jannatwrites January 6, 2013 / 10:34 PM

        Thanks, HT. I appreciate you stopping by to read it.

    • jannatwrites January 6, 2013 / 10:32 PM

      Yep! Skunks have their scent porcupines have their spines and we can just be plain mean 🙂 Thanks for reading, Gina!

  25. Draug419 January 6, 2013 / 7:10 AM

    This is me at my core :3 I’m grumpy a lot of the time but I’m very happy to help peeps (: Great piece!

    • jannatwrites January 6, 2013 / 10:36 PM

      Oh, I doubt this is your core, Draug! A truly miserable person couldn’t write the words ‘happy’ and ‘help’ in the same sentence 🙂

  26. Linda Vernon January 6, 2013 / 12:27 PM

    Oh I love the way you did this JannaT Superb as usual.

    • jannatwrites January 6, 2013 / 10:38 PM

      Thanks for the compliment, Linda. There were a lot of great responses this week (again)!

      • Linda Vernon January 7, 2013 / 8:23 PM

        Weren’t there? I don’t think there’s ever been that many participants before. Which is so great! 😀

        • jannatwrites January 7, 2013 / 11:00 PM

          The only downside is that I have trouble finding time to read them all. There were a few I missed.

        • Linda Vernon January 8, 2013 / 1:53 PM

          I know what you mean. The field is ever expanding!

        • jannatwrites January 8, 2013 / 10:42 PM

          I’m already behind reading for this challenge. I think it’s my new normal 🙂

        • Linda Vernon January 9, 2013 / 9:01 PM

          Mee tooo! I’m going to be reading all evening. Unfortunately I’m a pretty slow reader! Or at least I feel like I am!! 😀

        • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 7:58 AM

          Oh Linda, I’m never going to catch up. I read all night, but with the added links, I’m not even halfway done! I may have to *gasp* skip some (but not yours!)

  27. Mike January 6, 2013 / 12:41 PM

    A clever take on the prompt.

  28. Christine January 6, 2013 / 2:00 PM

    Lovely poem, Janna, just fantastic! Great wordplay with “mantle.”

  29. Sandra January 6, 2013 / 3:56 PM

    Awesome interpretation of this prompt! I like how you think outside of the box! 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 6, 2013 / 10:41 PM

      Thanks, Sandra! I’m glad you liked the poem 🙂

  30. lovethebadguy January 6, 2013 / 4:30 PM

    What a beautiful interpretation of the prompt. I particularly liked your take on “mantle”.

    A really great tale told in so few words. 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 6, 2013 / 10:42 PM

      A sad life story in 33-words. Can’t get much simpler than that 🙂

  31. Imelda January 7, 2013 / 7:44 PM

    Very lovely, Janna. How people keep appearances as self defense – and yet, end up lonely because they let no one in. 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 7, 2013 / 10:54 PM

      Either way, they end up in pain. I’m not the gambling type, but I’d rather take a chance and let people know my heart. I’m glad you could stop by, Imelda!

  32. pattisj January 8, 2013 / 11:44 PM

    I liked your take on this prompt, Janna.

    • jannatwrites January 10, 2013 / 7:37 AM

      Thanks for taking time to read it, Patti!

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