My baby boy (6'2", over 200 pounds) is getting married tomorrow.
We are fully in the midst of festivities surrounding the nuptials–dinner for 16 here last night, ladies lunch yesterday afternoon, manis and pedis today followed by the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner…you get the picture. Which is why this blog post will be brief.
And this is round two, since we went through this in June with my daughter. Crazy times, but good times.
People ask me how I feel about getting both my children married off in one summer and the answer is great. I feel a new sense of freedom because I know both my kids are well and truly launched into their adult lives. There might be a twinge here or there, but mostly there's very little sadness.
I'll tell you why: because I'm a writer. And writing fills up my soul and heart and spirit and makes me feel happy and directed and content, whether or not my children are around.
And that is just about the best thing I can think of.
Have a good weekend, everyone. And for my loyal commenters, I'm sorry I've been such a slacker about visiting your blogs. I'll be back on my regular rounds next week.
This is a wee sideline to my writing career that developed a few years ago when friends asked me to get ordained so that I could officiate at their wedding. One thing led to another–I think they call it word of mouth–and since then I think I've done five or six weddings. It is pretty fun, I must say, and I also always feel extremely honored when I am asked.
Most of the time, the bride and groom write their own ceremony, with a bit of guidance from me. Usually, things are short and sweet. After all, people don't ask someone like me to officiate if they are traditional types who would want, say, a Catholic mass for their wedding. But this particular time the bride and groom asked me to say a few words of wisdom.
After I got done laughing (me? words of wisdom to a bride and groom?) I started in. It was a writing project, and I approached it as such. But I learned something really important this time through. Here it is:
I'm nervous until I am fully prepared.
When I'm fully prepared, I am no longer nervous. When I've been through the process enough times to be confident in my work, the nerves disappear. I was making last-minute changes on my remarks on Sunday morning, because I woke up nervous. And I realized this meant I was not yet satisfied with what I'd written.
And this is why I'm a believer in process. I like to give myself plenty of time to work on projects, because I need noodling and thinking time in between. (Noodling is distinct from thinking in that it often involves doing other things, such as enjoying a class of wine with friends or family, which does not, to the untrained eye, look like writing.) My process looks something like this:
1. Realize the deadline is a couple weeks away and decide I better do something about it. Make notes.
2. Think about it. Often I think deep thoughts while driving. I love driving.
3. Write more notes, or add to the ones I have already taken.
4. Noodle. See above. This is often the most overtly entertaining part of the process.
5. Do the actual writing of the first draft.
9. Feel pleased with results.
10. Wake up in a panic and realize that everything I've written is crap.
11. Return to the work and rewrite until the panic subsides.
So there you have it, my writing process in a nutshell. Is yours similar?
And mostly what I've been doing the last four days has been wedding-related. Thursday and Friday were all about set-up. Saturday and Sunday were all about the actual celebration.
The wedding was at 5 PM, under a blazing hot sun (thank you all who prayed for good weather), and with the exception of a wee bit of time devoted to setting up the venue in the morning, most of the day was for getting ready. As in a gaggle of girls–the wedding party–and some olds–me and my two sisters–in a hotel room getting hair and make-up done. We drank champagne and ate chocolate chip cookies and watermelon while photographers snapped photos and various husbands, brothers, and groomsmen lurked about.
The wedding and the celebration after are all a blur in my mind, but I do know there were toasts and good food and wine and old friends and family and dancing–lots of dancing. (That's a photo of the tent above, and its about the only picture I managed to take.) How can you sit still when a bluegrass band is playing? And yesterday there was more fun, an open house at my daughter's new home, and last night one last family dinner, a time for eating up the leftovers from the rehearsal dinner on Friday night and gossiping about the celebration.
My point in relaying all this is not only to tell you about the wedding. It is to remind myself–and anyone who happens to have read this far–of the benefits of giving it all you got. We well and truly celebrated my daughter's wedding, threw everything we had into it and then gave a little more. And got back a hundred thousand time what we put into it.
Now, I'm exhausted and trying to catch up with all the work that went undone while I was giving the wedding everything I had (If I owe you an email, and I do, because I owe everyone on the planet an email, I'll be getting to you soon). It is still hard to think about anything but the wedding, and the people who were there, and what we all chatted about, and who danced with whom, and how much fun it all was. But here's the deal: when my brain finally does settle down and is ready to get back to work, I'm going to be so much richer for it. My writing is going to be so much richer for it.
Because the time will come, soon, very soon, when I am readily and happily giving my writing everything I got. Until it is time to give something else my full and complete attention–all I got. It has taken me years to figure this out, that giving all I got to one thing doesn't mean I can't give it all I got when the time comes for something else.
I'm glad I finally figured it out.
***Coming soon, very, very soon–a new blog design, yay! I've been working on this for a couple months and we are getting very close to unveiling it so stay tuned.
My daughter is getting married tomorrow. I've written about her story on this blog before, and you can read more here, and here.
But let me just say that weddings are hell on the writing schedule. As if you didn't know that. I suppose planning any event for 200 people will do that. Yesterday I spent the entire day at my daughter's command, cleaning and straightening (she's having an open house at her place the morning after) and in general doing what I was told. And then were things to deliver and in the middle of it all, a memorial service to attend.
Today is no different–we are heading out to the wedding venue in just a bit to begin stringing lights around the huge tent that was erected yesterday.
By the way, could every single person who reads this blog please, please, please give a little prayer for sunny weather tomorrow? Please? Thank you.
Even though we've been enjoying this mad, crazy schedule, I have gotten a little bit of writing in. Just a touch, but its enough to keep me feeling centered and in touch with who I am. And here's what I realized the secret of doing this has been for me:
The first part of that is to Pause. Pause and take a second, just a wee second, to Remember your connection to whatever or whomever you believe in (and if its a big fat nuttin', just feel your connection to everything around you)and then Acknowledge.
It's that simple and boy does it make a difference. You can do it in seconds without anybody knowing, or you can repair to the bathroom and sit on the toilet and take long minutes. You can extend your PRA to an hour-long meditation. Its a perfectly adaptable habit.
And that is all I got for you today. Have a great weekend, everyone. And remember, think sun.
I like every place I find myself in. Sometimes I like it so much I love it.
Let me try to explain.
Both of my children are getting married this summer, my daughter and my son. Since I'm hosting the rehearsal dinner for my son, my future daughter-in-law and I have been scouting locations. And my daughter, who also needs a spot for her rehearsal dinner, has come along a couple of times, too.
Are you with me so far?
We've looked at fancy, foofy bed and breakfasts, a refurbished school which is now a restaurant, a couple of funky bar-type places. The idea is to find a place that reflects the vibe of the happy couples, which in both cases is casual yet elegant, down home but classy.
I love every single place we visit, even if it is clearly unsuitable for the dinner. Love them all. I loved the bed and breakfast, even though the back patio was cramped and awkward and the interior held way too many lace doilies. Loved the refurbished school even though the only room big enough to hold us was dark and dreary.
Yesterday we visited the mothership of a local catering firm where they host events. A fire placed in the fireplace, elegant taffeta drapes set off rooms, big windows looked out on the street, whimsical decor elements were placed just so.
I fell in love, of course. And started blabbing about how great it all was.
My daughter and my daughter-in-law both gave me the stink eye. I could tell they were sending mental messages to stop talking. Stop talking now.
But I waxed poetic about how much I loved the space. And, even though these caterers charged extra for every single thing ("The napkins? Extra charge. The flatware? Extra charge…"), in my mind the budget has already flown out the window, and who cares? because I love this place so much it will be worth it.
It takes me hours to settle down and realize, ick. To come to my senses and see that the place was not appropriate at all. That all those extra charges will bankrupt us. And finally, as I was ever-so-slowly realizing these things, I figured out why this always happens to me. Why I always fall in love with wherever I am.
Blame it on my writer's imagination.
When I was at the catering space yesterday, it wasn't just the place itself, it was what I instantly imagine happening there that makes me fall for it. I saw the buffet table in the front room laden with food, a man dressed in a suit holding a cocktail brush by the tapestry drapes. I saw the room set up with round tables, gorgeous table cloths ("Brocade? Extra charge…") and people in fancy dress sitting around it toasting the nuptials to be.
And then I think, I'll use this space when I have a book release party. Actually, I'm going to use this space all the time in the future (because suddenly, in my brain, I have the kind of life which requires the constant use of caterers). And then I begin to design the color scheme for the next event we'll have there….
And then my daughters are saying goodbye and pulling me away. And later, much later, I'll fall to earth with a thud.
But man, oh man, the flights of fancy sure are fun. It is so great to be a writer.
Do any of you do this? Please tell me you get just as carried away as I do.