It’s 4:00am here in the US. I’m still in my PJs, sacked out on the couch in the living room, and although I generally prefer to wallow in ignorance so far as world news is concerned, I am on top of it today. This is because today is a very important day: today is the day when some innocuous brunette who-is-not-me will marry HRH Prince William and I will finally have to admit to myself that I won’t be joining the Royal Family any time soon.
Of course, there’s still Harry. (One of my supervisors reminded me of this fact via text message yesterday.) But I don’t really consider Harry a viable option. As a friend from the UK pointed out a while back, anyone who gets that much media training and still has the audacity to show up at a fancy dress party wearing a Nazi swastika on his arm isn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the box— Royal Family or no.
So I won’t be marrying Harry. I hope he’s not too disappointed.
I will, however, be sitting here for the next four hours watching the Wedding of the Century (at 8:00 I shall have to tear myself away from the TV and head over to The School) and despite my grief over having lost my one and only chance at marrying into the Royal Family, I’m feeling rather satisfied with myself.
Well I’ve finally managed to turn my obsession with all things British into something productive.
A week ago, while I was holed up in the middle of nowhere during my spring break, I had a flash of inspiration: I love London. I love weddings. I love being very opinionated about things I know very little about (ie. the political importance of ritual under both constitutional monarchies and “democracies”) and I love a good fairy tale just as much as the next person, if not more.
(Hence the fact that I am awake at this ungodly hour.)
Obviously I was meant to write an op-ed on these very subjects and submit it to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The only problem was that I was staying at my parents’ house on Hooper Island at the time. No internet. No access to the books I read in grad school (the one’s that got me thinking about the political implications of ritual in the first place) and just a few days in which to pull something together.
I managed, thanks to my photographic memory, the county library and Google books (what did people do before Google books???) but the Inquirer didn’t take the bait.
And here’s where being a writer is so damn tricky. I’ve never published an op-ed before—never even attempted to publish an op-ed before— so I figured I had better play by the rules and the “rules” over at the Inquirer go a little something like this: “Submit your work to us and only us and, even if it IS time sensitive and you’ve been driving all over Delmarva to try to find a book you read in London nearly three years ago. And oh yeah: don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
Surprise, surprise: they didn’t call. So I very stupidly sent the piece to The Baltimore Sun, completely forgetting to change all of the Philly-centric stuff I’d written for the Inquirer, and told them I was graduate of Goucher College (which is in Baltimore), and that I had lived in London and that they should totally publish my piece because, well, blah blah blah.
Lo and behold, no word from the Sun either.
With Friday’s nuptials fast approaching, I realized I was running out of time. Who wants to run a piece about the wedding after the fact? I blasted a few of the alternative weeklies and then, as a last resort, pitched the piece to the editor in chief over at Metropolis. It’s not that I don’t like writing for Metropolis; I do, but Metropolis publishes personal essays (they’ll be publishing another of mine soon) even though the editor’s published (and paid me!) for everything else I’ve ever submitted, I didn’t think he’d be too keen on this one.
In my desperation, I had taken a major gamble—a gamble known in the world of freelance writing as the simultaneous submission. In most circumstances this is a very, very bad idea—every book I’ve ever read about writing advises against simultaneous submissions—and I spent all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in a weirdly depressed but relieved panic (“No one likes me… but at least I don’t have to tell an editor, ‘Whoops, my bad! I’ve already given the piece to someone else actually.’”)
Then on Thursday afternoon, I got an email.
It was Prince William telling me he’d made a mistake with Kate. (He explained that he couldn’t back out now, not with millions of viewers around the world watching. But he did offer me Harry as consolation prize and suggested that we might… well, you know, they don’t make all those secret passageways in all those medieval castles for nothing!)
Actually, I’m lying. I did not get an email from Prince William (bet I totally had you for a minute there!) I got this instead, which is almost as nice.
(Click. Read. Rate aka click on the STARS! Comment. Share.)