Monday, September 07, 2009
Reader's Diary #522- Ivan Coyote: Vegas Wedding
Ivan Coyote's "Vegas Wedding" is listed at Nerve.com as a "personal essay" instead of as a "short story." I noticed this after finishing it. And I almost didn't include it for "Short Story Monday." Not that I wouldn't have posted about it (after all, I really enjoyed it) but I figured I'd hold off for a more appropriate time. 2 thoughts changed my mind:
1. I'm stressing about whether a piece of writing is classified as a short story or a personal essay? I need a life.
2. Ivan, and this essay, reminds us that boundaries and classifications can be silly at the best of times, dangerous and hateful at others. It's time to tear down the walls between the personal essay and the short story. Let freedom ring! (Okay, so this is one of the silly times.)
"Vegas Wedding," which reads like a story, is Coyote's account of trying to spontaneously marry her girlfriend in Vegas. No problem, right? It's Vegas. Well, just as a few marriage officials discovered that Ivan wasn't as she first appeared, Vegas isn't the "anything goes" state we've come to believe it is, either.
Told in Coyote's trademark shooting the breeze over a beer style, it's funny and honest, but with a tinge of sadness underneath it. I can't believe I found myself rooting for anyone's right to get married on a whim in Vegas, but there you have it. My favourite line in the story:
"You mean the guy who was watching pornos in the chapel was morally opposed to marrying us?"
I had the pleasure of meeting Ivan when she visited Yellowknife in June and to be honest, I didn't know who she was. After her telling me a couple wickedly funny anecdotes, I discovered that she was an author, and from the North. I promised to read more. Later this month I'm traveling to Whitehorse for a conference, so I thought it was high time to make good on the promise. I'm glad I did.
(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)