Dan and I reminisced afterward about how, while planning our peculiar Wiccan ceremony back in 1994, our big concern was that our relatives would say on their way home, "It was different, all right, but at least I'm sure it was a wedding." Abi and John put together a ceremony that was unmistakably a wedding, and, structurally, a rather conventional one at that, but insisted at every turn, even after the fact, on calling it by another name. Well, maybe they were onto something about calling it a commitment ceremony, because they were the least stressed bride and groom I've ever seen. They just plain enjoyed the day. About an hour before the ceremony, Abi started radiating loveliness, you know, the way all brides do. The various clusters of family and friends blended well, and we got to catch up with some old friends we hadn't seen in over a decade. Dan was terribly nervous about playing for the processional and recessional, but he gave a fine performance. None of these wonderful things are really all that surprising.
This context for the most unexpected sight of the evening:
Dan's uncle Peter is, we like to say, the white sheep of the family. The extended clan prides itself on freethinking and eccentricity, but Peter rebelled by finding God--an especially disgruntled version of God. Peter wanted to become a minister, but was too rigidly conservative for his quite conservative seminary, and they sent him packing, with the explanation that he'd need more patience for the shortcomings of others if he were ever to serve in the capacity of clergy. When Dan and I got married, Peter boycotted the wedding, and sent a letter to Dan's mother to say that he was praying for the failure of our marriage because I was a danger to Dan's immortal soul. Eventually, Dan's grandmother orchestrated a reconciliation. She was brilliantly manipulative, and used her superpowers for good. Once Peter caught on that I was the only person in the family who lived a life as centered on faith as his was, and he caught on moreover that blood sacrifice was not my schtick, he got over himself a bit, and we've had a cheerful detente for many years.
So now, perhaps, you understand why I was so surprised when Peter allowed his son to badger him into dancing at the reception. And the moment Peter was on the dance floor, the DJ put on that old 70s relic, "Funky Town." Many of us agree that we've been treated to a sight we'd have paid good money to see.
Last year, at Greg and Mel's wedding, I found out the hard way that there are no breaks from writing. I let two days go by on that trip without putting any words down, and didn't feel quite myself again for a week. So, on this trip, everybody knew to give me my writing time, and Abi's wedding day was actually my most productive. The short story is really shaping up.
The shape it's taking surprises me a little. I had one of those 3 a.m. revelations: the story I'm writing is the movie Kevin Smith would make if he were a Wiccan priestess. It's not like I decided to throw Chasing Amy and Dogma into the Cuisinart with the complete works of Dion Fortune and Margot Adler, with, gods forgive me, a dash of Silver Ravenwolf, but that seems to be what's happened. I can think of a few readers who might find this story entertaining, but none of the markets I'd like to break into would have the slightest interest in publishing such a thing. Well, if all it does is clease my palate between big projects, that's okay. I'd like to start the Beltresin prequel with a fresh mind, and jumping straight into it after shipping out the big book that's dominated my days for the past 2 years would probably not have allowed that to happen.
"Atlantis Cranks Need Not Apply" is great fun to write. If the only readers it ever has are my covenmates, well, that's a wider readership than most doctoral dissertations ever get, and in five years, the dissertation never gave me as much pleasure as this two-week throwaway project has.