An action-packed few days lie ahead. I’m getting married Sunday morning to a most incredible woman. Friends and family are flying in beginning tonight to attend the festivities and spend a few days with us. All the construction and remodeling of the house ended on schedule, and we now have a beautiful home in which to entertain our guests and, more importantly, to enjoy our new life together.
And earlier this evening I finished the first draft of my first novel. At 401 pages and a little over 70,000 words, it was a project that I commenced at the end of March with my goal being to complete it before the wedding. I almost didn’t make it — with all the last-minute details that have needed attention this week (and a little medical procedure that is now gladly behind me), writing did not come easily. But today I set aside the time and blazed through to the end with a fourteen-page output. A good writing day.
Finishing the first draft was my wedding gift to me. When I finish the final draft, that one will be for Deborah.
I leave single life without looking back. I enter married life looking straight ahead, welcoming what life brings us. How I feel might best be expressed by James Wright’s poem “The Blessing,” which I didn’t know until Richard Ford read it at the 1988 Writers at Work conference in Park City, Utah.
Just off the Highway to Rochester, Minnesota
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break