The Empty Jar-- what it is

I just realized that the last time I wrote on my blog was after my father’s death.  

Wow.

So much has changed since then.  I was struggling to deal with his passing, worrying about my mother and her health, and trying to figure out a way forward that didn’t include crying every day.  It’s odd how the loss of someone you’re close to leaves this gap in your life. It’s like a pothole that you find yourself carefully tiptoeing around so that you don’t fall in and drown.  And that’s exactly how I felt–like I was constantly trying not to fall in and drown. I avoided talking about it unless I had to, I avoided thinking about it if I had any other choice. I just avoided the pain as much as I could.

Only that didn’t do me any favors.  The one thing I can say about grief is that it has to be experienced, no matter how diligently you put it off.  It will come for you.  It will have its day.

On top of that, I was trying not to freak out over the fact that I couldn’t write. That I didn’t really want to.  Only, the thing is, part of me did.  I needed to be able to throw myself into something, anything, heart and soul, as I coped with my real life.  I needed to drown in something else, something less…real.  

Enter The Empty Jar.

I was lying in bed one night, thinking about work and how I wanted to write something different, something that matters.  Or, at that point, to even be able to write at all.  I mean, this is my livelihood.  And other peoples’ as well.  I was seriously getting worried.  But then, out of the darkness of my bedroom, out of the quiet of the midnight hour, came a woman.  She didn’t have a name yet, but I immediately knew her story.  Well, at least the short version of it.  The CliffsNotes if you will.  It was tragic and gorgeous and I knew I had to write it.  I went to sleep thinking about her and the first thing I did after downing a cup of coffee the next morning was write the first three chapters.

And they flowed.

Like a river.

Like fine wine.

Like destiny.

They flowed.

I knew within a day that those words were going to leave they’re mark on me, that they’d change the way I look at everything.

And they have.

I credit the combination of God (whom I give credit for all my inspiration) and my father. I wanted so much to write something he’d be proud of.  But also, on some level, I knew I had some grief to work through. Now, looking at the finished product of this book, I know I’ve accomplished both.

I’ve been asked countless times in the last few days what kind of book The Empty Jar is. Is it a romance?  Is it women’s fiction?  Is it sad?  Does it have a happy ending?

The answer to all of those questions is YES!  

Is it a romance?  Yes.  It is the most romantic book I’ve ever written.  Of the people who have read it thus far, several have called it “the ultimate love story.”  And, the odd thing is, none of them know each other.  

That makes my heart soar!

Is it women’s fiction?  Yes.  It is a story I believe any woman will be able to appreciate and relate to.  It is sad. It is tragic. It is exquisitely beautiful.  It is the story of a lifetime.  Quite literally.  

Is it sad?  Yes.  I cried almost every day while writing it.  But it is so, so beautiful.  Not because I wrote it.  That statement has nothing to do with me.  It has everything to do with the human spirit and sacrifice and love that knows no bounds.  

Does it have a happy ending?  Yes, I believe so.  It doesn’t have a fairy tale ending, but every character does find happiness.  I can tell you with absolute certainty that it ends exactly as it’s supposed to.  Exactly as it’s supposed to.  

The Empty Jar is a story of light in the darkness, hope in the sadness, and lightning bugs in the backyard.  It is a story about life. 

But more than any of that, it’s a love story.  

A love that is true and real and raw.  And it ends with that same kind of love, one that extends far beyond the boundaries of time.  

It is my favorite book by far.  It is the best work I’ve ever done.  It is the book I’m most proud of.  It is the book that holds pieces of my soul.  It is the book that has changed my life, my world, and my perceptions.

All I can say is that I hope it changes you, too:)

This is a little quote from Lena that I think tells you something about the book and maybe something about life.  

I find it odd how happiness and agony so often travel in tandem, almost as though the one is made stronger by the other.

And it’s true, y’all.  Without night, the sun wouldn’t be so bright.  Without black, white wouldn’t be so light.  And without agony, the beauty of true happiness wouldn’t be so…so…beautiful.

I hope you’ll check out The Empty Jar when it releases on May 8, 2016. I thought Mother’s Day was the perfect day since I believe there won’t be a woman out there who can’t appreciate this story.  So, ladies, this one’s for you.  May this book leave you with hope, optimism and a profound gratitude for the beauty of true love.

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  • Yulanda Bolton

    Just reading this blog post has me being excited about this. You have broken the contents down so beautiful.

    • Michelle Leighton

      Thank you so much, Yulanda! I’m so glad you’re excited about this!

  • Lee Pierce

    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your cathartic, healing story. Even though I’m going to need tissues. ❤️

    • Michelle Leighton

      Yes, you likely will:) LOL But hopefully it will leave you with a smile and a full heart.

  • Michelle Leighton

    I hope you love it as much as I do:)

  • Michell Hall Casper

    Oh WOW! I’m already tearing up and I haven’t even read the book yet. I can’t wait!

    • Michelle Leighton

      I have no idea how I’m going to hold in all this excitement for 3 more weeks! LOL

      • Michell Hall Casper

        It’s going to be a long 3 weeks! LOL!

        • Michelle Leighton

          You’re not kidding!

  • NayabHaych

    Your blog post is beautiful Michelle there’s no way you could ever not write (or be able to write) because even your blog post sounds poetic.

    I’m even more excited to read The Empty Jar now, can’t wait!

    • Michelle Leighton

      *beams* you are so kind and wonderful! Thank you, thank you, thank you! <3