Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'll buy a vow, please

Something about Bob and Mary Alice's wedding has captured Aidan's imagination. Suddenly weddings are figuring prominently in his animal friends lives, and he even did up his gibbon in a veil and train. This has lead him to a number of important questions about weddings and marriage: Can a man marry another man? Can a wedding be undone? What, exactly, are they promising to do?

I find these especially telling questions, because sometimes I think Aidan is thinking more seriously about them than the people taking the vows these days. I think the matter is more complicated by the fact that most anybody who opts for a non-church wedding is put in the position of having to write their own vows. I think this would be a fine thing, except that most people see this as an exercise in love poetry rather than the crafting of a vow to be taken seriously and literally. (Bob's and MA's vows were, by the way, just fine.) I am amazed at how few self-composed vows actually mention the really important things: fidelity ("foresaking all others"), permanance ("'til death us do part"), and constancy ("for richer or poor, in sickness and in health"). I don't believe these are poetic sentiments of love; they are literal, specific promises. As gender roles evolve and societal norms blur, it is even more important that people really understand exactly what they are promising to do.


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