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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.)

11 comments:

Eva said...

lol @ your point #1! And now I definitely want to read some of Ivan Coyote's writing.

My post: http://astripedarmchair.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/short-story-monday-a-catch-up-day/

JoAnn said...

I had to laugh at thought #1 and agree with thought #2. I'm not familiar with this author, but will read the essay/short story.

I posted an audio review of Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies today. Didn't link to you because it was an audio and a collection...and I didn't think it qualified. Guess I need a life, too - lol!

Here's the link anyway-
http://lakesidemusing.blogspot.com/2009/09/interpreter-of-maladies-audio-review.html

Allison said...

Ha, at your number one point!

This sounds interesting and I will bookmark it for reading on the train this week, thanks!

John Mutford said...

Eva: Apparently she's also really good live at story-telling and poetry events.

JoAnn: I've reviewed a few audio stories here for SSM. Every Christmas I review a Stuart Maclean audio story. I think they should count.

Allison: Oh a train ride sounds beautiful this time of year.

Diane said...

This appeals to me :) so I am thrilled to have found your blog today; i'll be back!

Nan said...

Hey John, though I'm not doing the Canadian challenge anymore, I would like to participate in Short Story Mondays. I like short stories, and I like the idea of connecting with other short story readers. I'd like to put the icon (is that the right word?) on my sidebar. Is that okay? And is there an official link I could put with it? Thanks.

Teddy Rose said...

This one sounds like one I would enjoy! Thanks for the link.

emeire said...

You're 2nd point makes a lot of sense to me. playing with the form to make a statement...
Em

emeire said...

You're second point makes a lot of sense...
Em

emeire said...

Third time lucky?
I was saying in my previous comments that I thought yor second point made a lot of sense. It nearly seems like intentional...
Em

emeire said...

Ok, now I realised that you have comment moderation. So I don't know how many of the similar comments you must have received!!!
Em