Writing from the head AND the heart

20110628-103809.jpgTo my shame, I’m woefully behind on getting ceremony drafts finalized (or even started, to be honest). That’s partly the result of things being insanely busy and/or on bed rest, but mostly it’s because, at the front of the queue there have been a couple of ceremonies requiring more than usually careful attention to their content:
There’s a certain delicacy required in the way you approach the ‘giving away of the bride’ when you know her father is living with a terminal diagnosis, or the way you draft vows to last ‘forever’ for a couple who have lost their home and livelihood in the Christchurch earthquakes, or the greeting for the half of a gay couple who probably won’t have a single member of his family present during the ceremony.
Usually, I love this part of my job- smithing the traditional phrasings of ceremonies, reworking their form into something new and better suited for their purpose. I really enjoy the process of finding the right combination of words that make it possible for a couple to perfectly express their emotions to one another and their guests.
I often joke that if I can make the mother in law cry, I ‘win’, but that’s only when she’s crying happy tears. These ceremonies are something else all together.

On one level, I’m relishing the challenge. And on another level, my heart is breaking. In the middle of so much happiness and hope for the future lies a core of bitter sorrow that cannot, must not be ignored or swept aside. While giving it due acknowledgement in the ceremony, must not be allowed to dominate and overshadow the celebrations. There’s a line to walk, between celebration and sorrow, that must be navigated without dipping into triteness or becoming maudlin, and I really won’t know if I’ve truly succeeded until the day the words are spoken at the ceremony.
Which is a long way if saying, if you’re waiting on your draft, it’s coming, and I suspect that it will turn out to be a little gentler, a tad more thoughtful than it might otherwise have been. If you’ve just received your first draft, I hope I have captured the heart of your words, and walked softly enough not to bruise the tender parts.

More than usually, be kind to the people you care about! Grab the opportunities, say the words, love extravagantly, out loud and in full colour. So far as it depends on you, live happily, ever after, for every minute that you can.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Caroline Burkhart Askew
    Jun 28, 2011 @ 11:58:28

    Beautiful! And get well soon!


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