When Words Fail Me: My Writing, My Wedding

Sometimes the pressure to write builds up inside of me and it is so huge that I feel like I am going to explode. Someday The Little Woman may come home to find bits of me all over the house, word bits, words that built up and couldn’t find their way out of me. There will be a preponderance of prepositions and a truckload of nouns, verb carnage all over the kitchen, and gerunds on the ground (hey, that rhymed!). Adverbs and those nasty words that end in –ly will litter the walls, pronouns and random punctuation marks will be sprayed around.
Too often, these words don’t find an outlet. Instead I spin and dither. I find other ways to expend the energy inside, activities that seem less arduous than sitting down and grinding out sentences. This week, for example, I’ve set up the art table and started making things: prayer flags with my own twist and boxes to put the prayer flags in. I love making these boxes—I’ve been making books (books is a broad term, in book making, just about any form of art with words) for a number of years, and now for every book I make, I create a box in which to stow it. The timing is good, for making things. I can justify my projects as Christmas presents. These projects are my safety valve, the overflow, where the dangerous steam can spill without harming anything. Still, it is not writing.
And it’s not like I don’t have things to write about. I got married this weekend. I feel like I should be writing something about that.  We had a small and lovely ceremony with our daughters and good friends in attendance. My longtime friend Laura officiated, my friend and writing buddy Jolene took pictures (she’s good, check out her page). Our vows reflected the tenure of our relationship, sturdy vows, hard won truths reflecting our accrued wisdom. Mature vows from which the dewy innocence has been shaken, vows with wonder and tenderness and love.
TLW (aka SugarMama) and I have  been together for more than thirteen years. We had a silly ceremony ten years ago, and became registered domestic partners about five years ago. None of that was enough in the end however, for me to retain my health insurance benefits with her company. I proposed to her last Christmas not long after Washington State enacted its same sex marriage law. And yes, we gays fought to get married so we could have benefits, but I felt a little irritated rushing our ceremony in to beat a deadline. We were caught between her company’s end of the year deadline and the one that comes in June of next year that says the state will roll our domestic partnership into a marriage if we don’t act first.
(Yes, we had a year to make plans and do the deed. We need not have rushed, but all excuses and reasons aside, that is what happened, so don’t judge me, Dear Reader, just read on, quietly and without comment).
Family: Anna, Nancy, Pam, Taylor
I’ve run out of words. So here are some photos instead and a copy of the poem I wrote for my wife (wow, my WIFE! There’s something I didn’t think I’d ever be saying in this lifetime, forever ending the dilemma of what to call her: significant other, TLW (always), partner, girl friend, spouse, better half, my uhm friend special friend, the boss, etc).
Our rings–mine is the sapphire.
Shout out to Jolene Hanson, photographer
Nancy, You are my anchor

The harbor in the sea

The home from which I can journey
The door that will always be open
I rise and when I fall
You lift me up
Our bodies entwine
Rising up from our bellies
I’ve held my breath all these years
And now with you
I can exhale
I offer you myself
A safe harbor in the sea
A home with heart and fire
A door that is always open
When you rise I will cheer
Hitched! At last.
And if you fall, I lift you up
Our bodies entwine and
Rise up from our bellies
We breathe in as one
And now that we are home together
I can exhale
The circle of this ring continues forever,

As does my love for you.    


My Distractions:


Our Silly Ceremony–10 Year Anniversary

Ten years ago today, I married my best friend. Ten years ago today, Nancy Durant and I pledged our undying love to each other in front of a gathering of family and friends. 

 Ten years ago today, we partied into the early morning hours, ecstatic to have the love and support, not only of each other, but also of my parents, Nancy’s father, her sisters,

my children, our neighbors, co-workers. On that sunny and warm September day ten years ago, there wasn’t anyone in our world—whether they attended our celebration or not—who did not wish us well.

And even though we, and everyone who attended our commitment ceremony, believed wholeheartedly in our love and in our future together, we dubbed our wedding The Silly Ceremony. We made signs that we put up at the venue that said “This way to Pam and Nan’s Silly Ceremony.” We put the signs up in our driveway, pointing reception attendees to our backyard. We welcomed everyone with hugs and a drink and a “thanks for coming to our Silly Ceremony.”

And it was funny (odd funny, not haha funny) because ten years ago not everyone asked “why Silly Ceremony?” Some did. But not everyone. These days, when we refer to the SC (and we do still refer to it that way), most folks look askance, horrified even, and don’t need to say anything at all before we jump in and explain exactly why our commitment ceremony/wedding became The Silly Ceremony. In the past ten short years same sex marriage has become very Serious Business.
Nancy, Pam, and Pam’s parents
So, how did The Silly Ceremony come to be? Long story long: Fittingly, since both of us had careers in IT, Nancy and I met online in early 2000, on PlanetOut.com. We corresponded via email and instant message for several months before meeting in person that July.  Our first date was an Indigo Girls concert on the pier in Seattle. A cliché? Maybe. But, it was also pretty much love at first date.
Just months before I met Nancy, my parents divorced after 38 years together. My father remarried the following spring, and Nancy accompanied me to the weekend-long event. It wasn’t the first family gathering we attended as a couple, and in fact it was our second family wedding (Nancy and I attended my cousin’s wedding in Vancouver in September 2000), but it was the first family event where, I think, our love and commitment to each other was obvious. And, over the course of the weekend, shared meals, long conversations, and non-stop celebrating, Nancy won the hearts of my extended family. She was, everyone agreed, a Keeper.
(my brother, drinking), Nancy’s sister Lynn (left), Nancy

One person (who shall remain anonymous), pulled me aside that weekend to extol Nancy’s virtues and then in the next breath said, “But, you guys aren’t going to have one of those silly ceremonies are you?”
I wasn’t as offended then as I might be now. I was mostly just grateful that I had a family that welcomed not only me but my girlfriend as well. I was thankful that I could attend family gatherings without hiding who I was or whom I loved. I recognized that I was very blessed.
After we had dated for a couple of years, after Nancy (who lived in a lovely condo in Kirkland) moved in with me (me! who had two kids, a recent and acrimonious divorce, shaky finances, and lived in Bellingham!), once it was clear, as one good friend said to me, that we were like a good old pair of comfortable shoes with each other, we decided, indeed, to have a Silly Ceremony.
Seriously Silly Brides