Wednesday Write-in #29: Hamilton Wedding (Revised)

Wednesday Write-in #29 @ CAKE.shortandsweet

Prompts: ‘I do’  ::  crockery  ::  torch  ::  capsule

March 6, 2012

Dear Brother John,

I was moving some boxes out of Dad’s place last weekend when I happened upon this gem. Remember how he used to send these out? Always pragmatic, he was. Anyway, I’ve attached the itinerary for the Hamilton Wedding that never was (with my own notes and revisions included for effect, naturally). I thought about torching the thing but decided that it’s not my place to erase such an informative time capsule–that you might get a kick out of it after so many years.

Enjoy, you crafty bastard (see insert):

MEMORANDUM TO DANTON FAMILY                  September 22, 2005
SUBJECT: Hamilton Wedding Itinerary

Since we are all coming in from various parts of the country for Ben and Jamie’s wedding, I threw together a brief itinerary to prevent any confusion or stress. Alexander will be driving in from Georgia, Daniel and Jacob riding with us. John is flying in from Washington.

DAY ONE (Friday, September 29, 2005)

Meet at the Hyatt Charleston lobby circa 1 pm and check into rooms:

Room 1: Daniel and Jacob (note to self: review bill before check-out re: TV activity)

Room 2: John and Alexander

Room 3: Your mother and I

Quick lunch in town circa 3 pm

Rehearsal dinner at Riggio’s Italian 7 pm (knew Ben was cheap)

DAY TWO (Saturday, September 30, 2005)

Up early, continental breakfast at hotel circa 7 am (dad would)

Relaxation, swimming, spa time 9-11 am (better practice your speech, Johnny boy!)

Get ready for ceremony 11 am-12 pm (easy on the champagne)

Meet in hotel lobby circa 1:30 pm, depart for cathedral by 1:45 pm (Did you bring the crockery, Deb?)

Wedding Ceremony at 2:30 pm (concerned murmurs from the crowd)

Reception back at hotel circa 7 pm

DAY THREE (Sunday, October 1, 2005)

Breakfast in town circa 9 am

Late check out at 1pm (dad had probably already called it in)

Lunch in town circa 2pm

Hit the road circa 4pm, John to the airport earlier

P.S. I always thought Ben Hamilton was a prick so I’m glad it worked out this way, even if you’re sort of a prick for it too.

With love,


Filed under Featured Content, Flash Fiction, Wednesday Write-In, Writing

21 responses to “Wednesday Write-in #29: Hamilton Wedding (Revised)

  1. An unconventional narration, when handled with consideration, delivers. The play between past and present (in the form of additions) is a light touch on the devastation that has been wrought.

    The opening to the letter is a great set-up for the itinerary and is colloquial enough to appear as a genuine letter without being contrived. However, I wasn’t sure why it was opened with ‘Brother John’ and found myself a bit perplexed by the identity of the recipient.

    I wonder if the elopement of Jamie and John could have been drawn out a little further; the strike-through of the reception would stand a s a cleaer crown to the end of the day if the failed event had been drawn through with a clear line. I like the absence of what’s going on behind he scenes but in order for that silence to be read, what is being said needs a boost. A clear juxtaposition without making the dichotomy too heavy.

    If I were to receive this letter, I’d be in on the memory and the joke but it’s not quite there yet. I’m interested to see how you revise this as it is weel on it’s way to being a unique piece of flash.


    • @Sam

      On to it then:

      The choice to add the word Brother was a personal choice, perhaps influenced by my own family (my father often addresses his many brothers this way, for example) and really has no bearing on the story (since we find out later that Alexander and John are brothers). I’ll have to politely disagree with any confusion as to the identity of the writer/recipient in this piece (which you were not alone in) since the memorandum is addressed to the Danton family and the rooms list the names of both the recipient of the letter (John) and the writer (with love, Alexander). It seems rather clear to me, but I could be on a different planet. Perhaps I am missing some of the other ways that this could be read.

      I am not quite sure what you mean by “drawn through with a clear line”.

      Well, this is all really thoughtful, helpful feedback. Thank you — I am grateful that you took the time to scrutinize the text this way. It’s the reason I participate in write-ins like this.


  2. A really innovative way to tell a story. I will admit that I had to have my suspicions confirmed, I wasn’t sure that John and Jamie had run off together. But that is just a niggle on my part. This was a really different way to tell a story and you pulled it off very well.


    • @Walls

      Thank you — I knew I would run the risk of losing some readers in the abstraction of this non-linear writing when I wrote it. Your feedback, along with some others, will help me in the future.


  3. I really like the format with it’s three voices: Dad, young Alexander, older Alexander. But I did struggle a bit with the relationship between the Dantons and the Hamiltons, who’s who and what really happened. So I read the comments & your reply and got there in the end.


  4. I love the added humour: ‘note to self: review bill before check-out re: TV activity’ & crafty bastard 😀
    I’m thinking John stole Jamie. Though I was getting a bit mixed up with who was who. I liked the cross out effect, that’s what made me think John stole Jamie seeing he’s no longer off to the airport 🙂


    • @Rebecca

      As you know, walking the line between showing and telling and also trusting the reader is a delicate matter, especially in short fiction like this. Of the clues that I did include via the revisions and notes, I was torn about which gave the reader to little credit; and there were some details that didn’t make the cut at all (revisions of the revisions!).


  5. Elaine McKay

    I really like this. I did come back to it today as I was tired last night and knew I would have to work out who was who. I really like the asides and wonder if even Jamie and John’s relationship is over now since this is quite a blast from the past and completely indiscreet but perhaps that’s just brothers! Also, was Alexander a bit in love with Jamie,too? Of course, I may be totally wrong about the whole storyline!


    • @Elaine

      I can’t speak to your ideas about these relationships because I didn’t think about them when writing this! I did, however, leave some of those subtexts undeveloped to give the reader the agency to invent these subtexts for themselves, which you’ve done beautifully — those are great, truly, about Jamie and John being over and Alexander’s feelings about Jamie.


  6. Interesting format. Neat story. It makes me wonder what actually happened, which is something I think all good short stories should do. Well done.


  7. Emmaleene Leahy

    I enjoyed this. It’s very funny how the story unfolds through the revisions. I too however was a little confused about who was who and when all of the revisions had been written. If you gave more detail in the first part about what their relationship to the wedding it would help. Maybe a little sharpeneing up on these would help highlight what is a very funny story. You have also used the device of the letter and revised itinery very well. well done.


    • @Emmaleene

      Thank you — your feedback is helpful for me, as I used a new form and all of these different readings give me insight into what works, what doesn’t and what’s completely incomprehensible.


  8. I thought this was great. I loved the style of narration, and the way the story tells us so much while actually saying very little. I enjoyed the family dynamics between the brothers (I presume), and the affectionate criticism of their father. Really clever, well handled, and enjoyable.


  9. I really like this, although I’m struggling to figure out what happened. To me it seems like maybe John stole Jamie – hence being a crafty bastard, and still kind of a prick? I love the revisions a lot though some are confusing me, as some feel like they were written beforehand (ie checking the TV in what I assume is the kids’ room), and seem feel that they’re written afterwards with the hindsight of what’s happened – but I can’t determine whether they’re written during, just after, or now: just before he posts the letter. Hm!

    You’ve certainly made me think hard about this one, what’s happened where and when, and who everyone is. I had to read back through a couple of times to get a handle on all the names and work out who’s actually writing to whom and how they fit in the story. Possibly because all the names read as male names (with the possible exception of Jamie) so I kept mixing them up.

    I’m still not sure I’ve got the right idea of the story behind this, but I loved the style and weirdly Alex’s character came through pretty strongly just through those brief notes 😀


    • @Sarah

      Well, I tried to make it clear in the letter (written by Alexander) that Alexander added all notes and revisions after finding this memorandum (which was originally written by his father years before). I can see how some of the notes could be confusing as they could be read as Dad writing them when really they are, in some instances, Alexander writing a facetious note that Dad might have considered writing.

      And yes, you’ve certainly got the crux of the story right: John swept Jamie away from Ben and they ran off together.


  10. ndico9

    I really enjoyed this, Martin. Thank you.


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