So, I have a question…

So, I have a question re: my novel -- if you're going to have a civil marriage, where does that happen? A city clerk's office? And if you're in Philadelphia, is there some particular office where that would happen? And by some chance, does anyone know what such a place would look like?

Kev read the first two revised chapters the other night, and his main comment was that there's a lot of moving around, and that he didn't have much sense of place. This was a bit frustrating to hear, since some of what I *tried* to do in this revision was to put in more description -- apparently, not enough. My opening scene is in a city clerk's office, and I don't describe it, because I have no idea what it would look like. Some poky little room? A large space, full of cubicles? A grand and glorious hall? I just don't know. Help?

In other news, I sent a note to the chair of the search committee at U Wisconsin-Milwaukee, letting them know that I'd started doing on-campus interviews and asking if their search is still open, or if they'd made a decision. He wrote back this morning, saying the search is still open. So I still have hope -- that would be a great job, in a terrific department, and only an hour and a half away. If I got it, we could easily do something like buying a house in Milwaukee (where housing prices are a lot cheaper than Chicago) and have Kev get a smaller condo here in Chicago, a studio or one-bedroom, where he'd stay a few nights of the week. There's a convenient train that runs directly back and forth, if he didn't feel like driving. Roshani and Tom and Zoe are pretty settled in Milwaukee too, since she's working at the pediatric hospital there. It'd be great to see more of them...

There are other good jobs -- one in L.A., one in New York, two in the Bay Area, and even a few possibilities still actually in Chicago, though those are less likely. But I do think our preferences have narrowed down to about seven jobs total that I'd be happy to take. Some of the other positions I interviewed for are terrific jobs, but I've just realized that I'm not willing to move to those locations. I suppose this has all been a learning experience.

7 thoughts on “So, I have a question…”

  1. How odd that you ask where civil ceremonies happen, we just last week figured that out–in Chicago, there’s something called a Marriage Court, perhaps something similar in Philadelphia? I can tell you what it looks like a few months from now. A friend says he was surprised at his wedding that the actual oath was not just a formality, it actually included bits about loving and honoring each other.

  2. It varies from city to city (and even judge to judge). My husband and I were wed in a courtroom in Ann Arbor, but the same judge also officiated at weddings at other locales, including underneath one couple’s favorite tree.

  3. Yah, I mean, most City Hall type buildings have an office that handles the performance of weddings, but civil weddings can actually happen anywhere. Well, not in a church, I guess. But a good number of the eight billion weddings I’ve attended in the last few years were civil (as opposed to religious) and not one was at city hall.

  4. I attended a civil wedding that occurred at the Planetarium here in Chicago. There is, however, also paperwork that had to be signed and filed – friends of mine were married but hadn’t made it “official” by getting down to city hall (I think) to fill out the paperwork.

    I have to be downtown tomorrow to pick up some paperwork from the State of Illinois center, I could easily pop over to City Hall to see where it is/what it involves here in Chicago. I’d imagine, however, that Chicago’s city hall would be a very different space than many other cities – much grander and more formal perhaps than a small town city hall – do you know what city your civil ceremony is set in?

    Good luck with the job hunt – hope you find something that can keep you here in Chicago!

    Shannon

  5. I watch Philly TV and I vaguely remember shots of civil marriages at City Hall. The room is institutional, generic. Here’s the contact from the city web site.
    Marriage Licenses
    Room 415, City Hall
    Philadelphia, PA 19107
    Phone: (215) 686-2233

  6. In San Francisco, if you want a “just go get hitched” civil ceremony, you go to city hall. There are some offices, and a few judges. The judges perform the ceremonies. Generally, they’ll let you go wherever you want in City Hall to do it – which is nice, ’cause City Hall is gorgeous.

    You can also pay a fee and fill out some paperwork and have a regular human “deputized” for a day by the city to be legally able to perform your civil ceremony. Then you can go wherever you’d like.

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