We recently published Felix Lecocq’s shining “Wedding Video.”
Here, we ask him two questions about his story:
1) I love how the details here give us a sense of time and place — the VHS tape, the leather couch and that great line “You got married in a time before sound.” How necessary for this story was it to be set in this specific time?
To set the tone for myself while writing this piece, I watched many home videos on Youtube of strangers’ weddings from the 70s. My favorite part is when someone looks into the camera and laughs in surprise. I highly recommend looking these up.
It was important to me that the wedding took place before digital cameras. I’ve always loved the materiality of old videos—their grain, their spots, their decay. This story is about grief and wanting to preserve the memory of a dead person, both in the world and in yourself. The “you” in the story lives on our side of the television, and he’s looking through the grain, into a memory. But there is so much texture to old videos that you can’t ever forget that they’re not real.
2) The way the white space works in your favor here is so effective! For me, I think of the characters watching the video as being a younger sibling and an older sibling, but I suspect other readers might picture a different relationship — which doesn’t take away this story’s beauty at all. Did you ever consider adding more information to this story? Or was it always this tiny, beautiful snapshot?
“Wedding Video” is from the point of view of a child who doesn’t understand grief but is looking directly at it. I wanted to write about that uncanny childhood feeling of knowing that the adults around you are upset but no one has told you why. The reader knows as much as the child knows.
This story is actually semiautobiographical. It is informed by a childhood memory of visiting the house of a distant relative in California. After his wife passed away, he sat on his couch for weeks, unable to do anything else. As my mother cooked for him, I sat with this relative and watched a video with him, which I remember to be a wedding video.
Recently, I was informed by my family that it was, in fact, a video of his wife’s funeral. I may have misremembered this because Vietnamese people often wear white to funerals, which I could have interpreted as a wedding dress, but this is just speculation. In my memory of the video, I had resurrected his wife. I remembered her alive.