Case study 1: Lauren and Darren’s poem
The Challenge: This is the first poem I wrote for a wedding where a friend, not the couple themselves, had answered the questionnaire.
Torty got in touch to say that she had read my poems online and would I be able to write one for her friends’ wedding the following weekend? As she wanted to have the poem written out by www.embellishingtheordinary.com, I had a week to write it – this is the standard amount of notice I’m being given at the moment, and is usually enough time. As I was out and about when she asked, and I personalise each questionnaire, I popped her one over to her the following day and within 24 hours she had popped it right back.
Reading Torty’s questionnaire made me realise that the tone of your answers is actually more important than the answers themselves. Torty’s naturally bubbly tone was evident in spades; I couldn’t NOT write with an upbeat, gregarious voice based on this material. The problem was: were the couple as bubbly as Torty?
As per, I had a couple of goes before I hit on the right poem for Lauren and Darren. When writing a poem I always start at the beginning, skip to the end and then return to the middle; I kick off by reflecting the given tone in the rhythm and rhyme scheme, polish off a final stanza so I know where I’m headed, and then have fun filling out the middle using the questionnaire’s wonderful content. Torty’s answers were filled with optimism and joy: she was talking about a couple who had clearly faced a few tough times but who were all the closer and more hopeful for what they had experienced. They didn’t warrant anything heavy: their poem needed a fun touch, a feel good touch, a light touch…and so, ‘light’ it was (read ‘Lauren and Darren’s poem’ here).
Whilst writing the poem, my confidence in my choice to honour Torty’s tone grew. She was their friend and this poem was a gift from her – of course it was ostensibly about the couple, but it was also inherently about her relationship with them: what she wanted to tell them, how she wanted to convey her love and appreciation to them. My poems are not about the receiver but about the relationship, and I hope that is what makes them such great gifts.
I was thrilled when Torty said she loved the finished product, and I continue to wish Lauren and Darren the very best for their life together.
The Lesson: The poem is always also about whoever answers the questionnaire, so hearing their voice clearly only makes it better!
"Let those in darkness talk,
We’ve nothing to hide
Illuminated by lovelies
We’ve grown up beside"
"So don’t you say sorry
Lift your champagne glass high
Cheers to then and to now:
To light, love, you and I."