This week, we celebrated my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary. My siblings and I rallied our useless decorative skills to transform the dining room in my aunt’s house. We collected yards upon yards of gauzy tulle fabric, scavenged craft scores for off-season Christmas lights, battled the laws of physics to fill the room with 25 golden balloons and searched through scores of albums for the perfect 25 photos.
The effect, I am happy to say, was quite stunning.
The actual party did not last very long. A couple hours, at most, before we heaved our food-warmed bodies and patiently took down the decorations that had taken hours to create (it would’ve taken years to assemble if my cousin and his wife hadn’t been there). Even though the time spent on the effort far exceeded the experience, it was worth it!
In hindsight, assembling the surprise is a lot like writing a good story. The time expended on the effort may seem excessive. Particularly if someone devours your story in a mere sitting. That reader may put the book down and think, quite casually, “Well! That was fun!” and go on with their day never realizing that the story had taken you days…months…maybe years…to set down on paper.
But what matters (I think) is how you made someone feel. Even if it was just for a couple hours. That time they spent steeped in something you created (whether it’s a tulle-adorned room or a fast-paced thriller) is magical and memorable…even if it is short lived 🙂