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Friday, July 22, 2011

Writing Prompt - A Ceremonial Event

By Amy Robinson

Summer is always sure to be full of weddings, parties, and family reunions.  Extend the fun of your summertime celebrations at Writing Pad. You don't even have to dress up!  Your pen will dance on the page like drunk Uncle Jim at your best friend's wedding reception.  Call 323-333-2954 or email to enroll in our classes before they fill up!

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Writing Prompt: Make a list of 3 ceremonies that you (or your character) have witnessed or taken part in. Pick one and add a sensory detail to it (smell, taste, sound, touch). Then write a story, poem, or scene about that special occasion, including the sensory detail. Write for 10 minutes, then post your write on the comments of this blog!

For example, I'm going to write about how when I was 10 years old, I was a flower girl at my brother's wedding, and I fainted.  What are you going to write about?

Comment on this blog! Write about a memorable ceremony? If you post your 10 minute write in the comments, you could win a free class!


Writing Pad said...

Like every hysterical bridezilla, I wanted everything about my wedding to be perfect. But things kept going wrong. The mean dress lady in Mill Valley had pulled a bait and switch on me. She had promised me a gorgeous 1950’s cream taffeta halter dress that was supposed to hide the mini bagels that appear under most women’s arms in a strapless dress. I’d gotten sucked in the first time I stepped into her store. I looked at the sparkly strapless dress that was flattering to almost everything on my body in the full length mirror. I felt like a movie star—Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, all rolled into one. But my arms, they looked like they were mini volcanoes oozing cool whip under my arms. The wedding dress witch pulled a chiffon scarf off the shelf and draped it around my neck. “See, I’ll just sew this as a halter, and you’ll look like a dream!” I loved it. It was vintage—just my style. For one day in my life, it would look like I had a perfectly sculpted body. Jeff would look at me with such admiration and love. What a lucky man he’d be.

But after the fourth fitting and trek across the Golden Gate bridge, the halter was too thin and crooked. The wedding dress witch had pawned off my alterations to illegal immigrants that she was paying $.50 an hour, and they had done a crappy job. She refused to do anything about it. I was imagining things, she claimed. My wedding was in 24 hours, and I envisioned all of our guests staring at the rolls of marshmallow fluff underneath my arms. Jeff wouldn’t want to marry me. He’d take one look at those oversized ice cream cookie sandwiches under my arms and run the other way.

I came home with the dress in a black body bag. I was still reeling at the extra $500 the Devil Dress lady had tacked on for her crappy alterations that she never mentioned when I first agreed to by the dress. I saw Jeff and started crying. “What’s wrong, honey?” I told him. “Let me see.”

“But you’re not supposed to see me in my dress until our wedding day.”

“It’s not important. Just try it on.”

Jeff immediately drove with me back to Mill Valley to yell at the devil dress lady and demand that she fix the dress. And she did. My hero!

In the end, even after all that suffering, Jeff didn’t like my dress. He thought it was too conservative. He didn’t like my makeup either—he said I looked too pale with all that pancake powder and dark red lips. But he loved me enough to defend me in front of a devil dress lady who was scary and mean, to marry me and stay with me even though I didn’t look “perfect” in his eyes.

I should have known that all the little things, the dress, my hairstyle, the cake, they weren’t important. The most important thing was that I had picked the right person to spend my life with. Afterwards, I sold that dress in a consignment shop. Even after all the fittings, the worry, the hysteria, and the money, it didn’t matter to me anymore.


Anonymous said...

I have one friend who, if she were male, or I female, I would totally marry. But it turns out we’re the wrong gender – or the wrong sexual orientation – and so I had to let her go. Some other person – a guy – got her, and now they’re happily married with two kids. I still get visitation rights.

Anyway, their wedding (back in 2004) was a dream, despite the fact that the groom stole her away from me. They got married in the south of France in a town called Uzes – at a chateau. The reception was in the gardens of the chateau, at tables set out under the green trees – on the grassy lawn, within the stone walls of the garden.

I, perhaps in light of my would-be spouse status, was seated near the bride and groom, next to the groom’s youngest brother. He was very handsome. A lighter, more attractive version of the groom – softer, gentler. And married with three kids. But no matter! His wife was staid – expressionless – uptight. Surely he’d prefer a younger, more energetic and playful dinner partner?

Through the course of the night, I found my ways to engage. When the second course (of nine) came, and it was a goat cheese appetizer, I scarfed mine down. I just love goat cheese – the creaminess, the tartness – the images of goats grazing on a green mountainside. He was pacing himself – he was going to skip this course. So I ate his too. Romantic, right? To share food? Until he got up and walked over to his wife (a few seats away), conferred with her, and then took her spot. Soon I was sitting next to the ice queen – who really wasn’t all that pretty, to be honest. Every time a course came, she turned to me, and asked me if I’d like her foie gras, salmon en cote, even wedding cake. I’m not sure what happened, but when it was time to dance, I chose the opposite end of the dance floor from my would-be dancing partner.

Emma said...

When my father died, I felt like the earth pulled out from under me. I was upended – falling – or else suspended in air, in emptiness.

But we had to have a funeral – for him, for family, for employees, for neighbors, and for friends. I was the one to plan it. Of course. My mother called me daily to check in on the progress I made – but never once did she offer to help. It was more like,

“Lara, what are you doing?”

“Writing the names of the guests we need to invite – are you okay?”

“I just wanted to know… I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast…”

“Mutti, I brought you groceries – there are cold cuts in your fridge – you don’t have to do anything – just put a slice on a piece of bread.”

“I know. I don’t have any appetite. I don’t want to eat.”

“Okay, Mutti. I need to finish this – do you want me to come over tonight?”

“Do what you want. It won’t change things.”
That is the sort of conversation we had during this time. My mother calling – wanting – but never articulating her needs. It got wearing. But I couldn’t wear out. I had to be the strong one.

We had the funeral three days after he died. It felt rushed – no one had anticipated his dying. He had been strong – he had given me away only weeks before – the life of the party – of my wedding, which was who he was – the life of the party.

The church was our local church – the one I had grown up going to, off and on, the one where I had been married. Now the pews, which had been decorated with ribbons and pink geraniums – were solemn, bare – the front of the church had the flower arrangement – large, alive – contrasting with the absence of my father. I sat in the front pew, with my mother and 3 of our neighbors. The church smelled stale – musty – close. It had felt so alive at my wedding.