Sunday, September 14, 2003

Well, I'm back from the wedding, which was wonderful and beautiful and full of much happiness. Jackie and I arrived on Thursday afternoon, and began our adventures to Minnesota by going on the log chute ride with Alan at the Mall of America. Much fun. At one point, while riding in the log down the waterpath, you come around a bend to find Babe the Big Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan, a towering figure, trying to chop your log as you go by. He murmurs something ominous, but you can't really understand. The vocal mechanism is obviously out of date.

Then Kelly and Alan and I read stories from Trampoline at The Ruminator, which was great. A lovely crowd of lots of people. Someone there recognized a road name from my hometown in Ohio that I used for the story and after the reading, she asked where I'd set the story. Turns out her grandmother lives in the next town over from where I grew up. Small world, indeed.

We spent Friday with Kristin's and Alan's family, getting to know everyone. Then Saturday was the big event. We had a barbeque at a park, played volleyball badly, ran away in fear of perverted bees, then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the ceremony.

Ok, here's the big story that Barth wants me to tell. But I'll qualify what I'm about to reveal by saying this is nothing new for me. Weird events like what I'm about to describe happen to me all the time, not just in movies and sitcoms.

So, after Alan and I got ready, after we had our moment where I helped him straighten up his tux and fix his pants and I felt like a best man doing a best man job, we rode in his car to the ceremony. On the way there, though, Alan gives me the rings for the ceremony. They're in a little gold bag, and I take them out to look at them, and I'm saying how nice they are when suddenly--I don't know, maybe we hit a bump?--Alan's ring falls back into the bag like a good ring, but Kristin's ring flies out of my hand. We hear a ding! and then Alan says, "Where did the ring go?"

At this time, I begin hyperventilating and noticing how many cracks and crevices there are in a car, where a ring could slip inside and never be found again, unless you tear the car apart. The wedding is in a half an hour. I unstrap my safetry belt, murmur something about getting God if I get this ring back, and begin pulling the seat away from the middle console, looking in desperation for Kristin's wedding ring. It's not in the console. Not in the change holder. Not in the back seat, or on the floor in either front or back. I start saying, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry", and feel like I'm about to implode. We pull into the parking lot of the place where the ceremony is to be held, and I fling my door open and get on hands and knees, pulling out pop cans and bags that are under the seats, and generally searching around for five minutes before I find the ring under Alan's seat.

I almost have a heart attack.

Later, I lose the marriage license. Or so I think. Alan, I have your copy here with me! I didn't lose it. It was in my book bag. I have no clue how it got there.

I am like the worst best man ever.

But I was really earnest about the whole thing, which is the worst. I've never been in a wedding before where I was so serious about being a best man, and that's when I become a bumbling idiot.

But I'm used to that.

Like Barth says, Frodo I am not. Actually, Frodo almost loses that ring several times, and like Frodo, I got the damned thing back, as well as the marriage license! (It wasn't the official one anyway, just an uncertified copy).

Hmm. In other news, the dancing was superb.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Hello again. School is back in session, and I'm teaching four sections of freshman composition. Pray for me, cross your fingers, send good thoughts my way. I've been used to taking two courses and teaching two, which I've realized in the space of these first two weeks is much easier than teach four courses. One hundred students in all. I'm still quite stunned at trying to juggle them all, and my office hours, and actually showing up to the right classroom on the right day at the right time. Beginning to reconsider if academia is where I should make my living. Not really, though. It's the thing I do best, learn and teach reading and writing, so I think I'll stay, even if I'm a bit worn out.

It's not just the teaching but that I'm trying to write a novel and apply to PhD programs at the same time. I'm just adjusting to the new schedule, I suppose. Probably in another week or so I'll be used to it. Although that may not be true, as next week I get to miss a few classes in order to do a reading from Trampoline in Cleveland with Maureen McHugh, and then later that week, I'm off to St. Paul for Alan and Kristin's much looked-forward-to wedding. Yay, I'm the best man! I can't wait to see happy people getting married again. The last good wedding I've been to was Gavin and Kelly's, which was a couple of years ago now. This one should be just as wonderful.

Jackie has moved into a new apartment, and we've been decorating it with glee. She gives the queer eyes for the straight guys quite a run for their money in the interior design department. This weeks tip is: find a color of crushed velvet that you adore and cut it into squares that will fit into picture frames. Do this multiple times and make an arrangement of the framed crushed velvet on whatever wall-space you deem worthy. She's chosen various shades of purple in silver frames. She's an eye for detail, that one.

I am immersed in the last section of the novel, which is very difficult to write. For most of the novel, my protagonist has been able to keep himself just out of reach of dealing with his problems, and now that's no longer feasible. So of course this makes for the difficult stuff for me to write. I can only hope I can do it justice.

Am already receiving ideas for possible next novel. I've enjoyed working on this one so far, except that it's kept me away from writing short fiction, which is my first love. I'm interested to see if my writing process for stories will have changed after writing a novel. If so, I hope for the better.

It's late and I have to be up quite early to teach, so I'll be off to bed now. But before I go, Dora, if you're reading this, I'm glad the story was a comfort at such a difficult time. Bless you and Kendrick back, and may the lizard be well.

Love to you all.