AUGUST 28, 1997
[   First Week   ]
Wedding Words?
(On the Lam in Literary America)

This is intrepid writer Amy Halloran's last entry in this month's travelogue, between Seattle to Maine. Until September, Halloran's weekly journal covered lit. culture (and roadside attractions) across the U.S.A.

 | journal four |  
8.27.97 I'm in New York. The city and the state.
The book on my mind is You and Your Wedding, a 1971 paperback I got in the mail a few years ago, from an ex-boyfriend's Dad. I had sent the ex a paperback chain letter that was supposed to net me 36 paperbacks. The man who sent me You and Your Wedding did not remember me as his son's old girlfriend, in fact, he could not remember his son  
I'd always bucked the bronco of tradition
correctly, describing him as the type of person who would go to London for a concert: Ralph may have been that type but he never did just that. I asked him to make sure. When that book came to my address, I laughed and showed my friends - how preposterous! Me, marrying!

Why, I doubted I'd ever be in love again, and I'd always bucked the bronco of tradition, ever since I saw its ugly sway back. Little did I know my biology & heart would lead me to an approximation of a very normal life. I kept the book and letter for the sake of kitsch. Now I want to study the yellow pages of You and Your Wedding, as it seems I am doomed for the aisle. Jack and I wanted our parents to meet because we know we'll be together. Circumstance has barely convinced us to say we're engaged (the word still sticks on my tongue - I attach it to so-called for safety) and everyone's asking when the big day will be.
Eloping
sounds like
the only
sane solution
  My Brooklyn buddy Jimmy has been terrorizing me with uncut wedding videos he's supposed to be editing. In one the bride cracks up after she says "I do," and hers is the only example I can see myself following. No, I don't want a party where I'm supposed to wear white. I wonder if the book has a section on eloping, which sounds like the only sane solution.

Jimmy is reading Love in the Time of Cholera and loving it. His experience is unlike mine. His boyfriend Rudi agrees it is forced, especially when compared to the ease of 100 Years of Solitude. Jimmy and I were reading that book when we were travelling in Italy eons ago and fighting like a pair of brats. We tore 100 Years of Solitude in half. I got the beginning, I think.

Andrew Weil is on the tip of everyone's televisions and tongues. At MTV's Times Square suites, surrounded by drawings of Beevis and Butthead and other cartoon creeps, I skimmed 8 Weeks to Optimum Health. Disappointingly, the book is filled with testimonials from people who have taken charge of their selves and their illnesses. I'm all for alternative medicine but I'd rather have the body's systems boringly described than be told over and over that I ought to eat more omega three fatty acids. Why should I? Is how they will help me such a god-awful secret?

On the subway people are reading their way out the door. I've seen readers, noses and eyes aimed at an open spine, get up and get out at their stops without skipping a word. Books are obvious barriers on the train, and I wouldn't dare break the NY notion of keeping away and ask what people are reading. So I stare down at the blank book jackets, my hands hangin on the rail by signs for television.  
Subway readers get out without skipping a word.

When riders read hardbacks the dustcovers that hold the titles are left at home. Titles are not always at the top corners of the page, so I'm clueless what most people are reading unless it's a paper or a paperback. Plains of Passage, Chicken Soup for the Soul and Close Company I've seen for sure, but I couldn't tell you what else. When I ask, off the subway, people say they're reading summer fluff, bestseller stuff like Tony Hillerman and Mary Higgins Clark.

off the subway,
people are
reading
summer fluff
  Rudi is working with a German playwright, Klaus Pohl, so I am reading one of his plays. Waiting Room Germany is based on interviews with Germans from both sides of the wall, five years after it came down. I have an old MSS - the Journal of SUNY Binghamton - to read on the plane tomorrow.

The issue is dedicated to John Gardner. Today is sunny but the breeze does not feel like high summer. Are we at the end? Is it time to hit the hard books again?

--   Wandering Reader
Amy Halloran


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