You look at the scratch and completely miss the diamond. ~ Raphie Frank
The wall of one of the staircases is my home is lined with thirteen original Beatles vinyl records. I have all the big hits, Penny Lane, Yellow Submarine, Strawberry Fields, and even I Am The Walrus. That’s twenty-six amazing songs if you include B-sides. I posted a picture of them once before, and somebody contacted me with an offer to buy them. When I told the person they weren’t for sale, they proceeded to tell me I had ‘ruined’ them. You see, the records weren’t originally mine.
My Pop was my most favorite human on the planet. During the day, my Pop worked at Heinz, but at night he taught ballroom dancing, and ran a mobile disco. He was the kind of man who always wore a sports coat, shirt and tie, even when he went on holiday to Spain. He lived in a very modest council house, but when my cousins and I would visit, he would put his disco lights on and we’d dance to The Nolan Sisters’ I’m In The Mood For Dancing.
I loved his record collections. I used to spend hours pouring through his cases of vinyl singles to find songs I loved so that he could play for me. I was crushed when he passed away, but when he did, there was only one thing I wanted of his... his records.
Which is why the Beatles hang on my wall.
So, why are they ruined? Only four of the singles are in their original covers. Why? Well, my Pop used to toss the fancy covers, and pop the records into a plain white cardboard sleeve, and then he would write the name of the song right at the very top so he could flip through his boxes of records and find the song he wanted quickly. This, to collectors, is the ultimate sin. However, I prefer them this way. Because everyday when I walk past them, I see his handwriting… a piece of him in my home. The thing that makes them most broken to others, is the very thing that makes them most valuable to me.
Which got me to thinking about romance novels. There’s nothing quite like a broken hero to get your heart fluttering. Secretly, we hope the tortured soul can be saved and fixed by that sweet, shy girl who’s just so right for him, but deep down we know he has to come to the realization that in the end, only he can fix himself. And we accompany him on that painful journey of raw emotion, willing him to open up and embrace all the hurt he’s buried deep inside.
But what is it about these bad boys with disjointed lives that we love so much? For me, it’s the tempestuous, stormy, turbulent, explosive, volatile nature of the guy. All that intensity and passion just bubbling up inside. And match that temperament with a love story that’s full of upheavals, full of ups and downs, and you’re in for a real rollercoaster of excitement and anticipation. These stories are true page turners - ones that keep us reading well into the early hours, even on a school night.
You see, no one understands a broken hero, quite like we do. We’re standing on the sidelines supporting him while he gets reckless and crazy and pushes himself to breaking point. We know the collision is coming, but we stay, for him. Why? Because he’s magnetic, addictive, and deliciously destructive. We see inside, past the brooding facade, and we patiently wait while he finds himself and gets his shit together. We’ll take that beaten brow, steely stare and angst-filled grimace over some preened Adonis any day. After all, it’s about seeing past the jumbled pieces and scars, to the good soul within. It’s the imperfections that combine to become perfection.
I think that’s why I feel so connected to Jordan and his story. Even as I was writing Jordan Reclaimed, I became so emotionally invested in his pain and past demons, I was willing him to overcome them and become the man he deserved to be. Because as I said earlier, the allure of the guy who is beautifully broken and imperfectly perfect will never get old. Just like my Pop’s Beatles records, their broken is my perfect.