On the matter of acknowledgments

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Yesterday, my copy of Jay Kirk's Kingdom Under Glass arrived, a book I'll be eagerly delving into later this long weekend.  I've known Jay through much of this book's creation, have been privileged to read a long, early chapter, and have been astonished (and been made grateful) by the research-inspired stories that he tells.  In a few days, once I've finished reading, I'll be able to report on the book here in greater detail.

But for now, let me say this:  I may stand in the minority with this, but I believe that acknowledgments, in books, actually matter.  They tell us something about the person behind the story.  They tell us something about the web work of his or her life.  Jay's acknowledgments, in Kingdom, carry on across four pages, and from every sentence of thanks there leans humility and grace.  There are stories upon stories inside Jay's acknowledgments, and I am lucky to be among those noted.  But mostly I smile at Jay's words for his wife, Julie.  "I would skin a pack of wild dogs for you," he writes at the close of a long paragraph.  The thing is:  I'm pretty sure that he would.


Cynthia Pittmann said...

I read acknowledgments, too, Beth. I think that writing them takes talent. I love how I get to know a person by the way they reference others. It's often a contrast to the writing-style found within the book.
It's charming to see who writers care about and how they show affection.

Beth Kephart said...

And sometimes, sadly, we writers err and neglect to fold into those pages all those we love. It has happened to me. I live with regrets.

Amy said...

I always greedily devour acknowledgements both in books and CDs. I agree one hundred percent with you that they are essential! :)

KFP said...

I have always read acknowledgements, always been fascinated by how writers always know and thank other writers. As I constructed the dream of what I wanted my life to be as a writer, in addition to writing itself, and being published, I dreamed of becoming friends with other writers and also—could this dream ever really come true?—of being mentioned in the acknowledgements of a favorite writer. And guess what: both dreams have happened. Today I can count many writers as friends, including much-admired Newbery award-winning author Jerry Spinelli, who mentioned me in his acknowledgements for Milkweed. Thrilling!

Now if I can only finish and publish that one adult non-fiction book I've been trying to write, and write my own acknowledgements page. Ah, there’s the rub.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I love reading the acknowledgments, even though I have no clue who they are talking about (usually). It's just nice to see what they say about the people who helped them along the way.

Lilian Nattel said...

I agree--I love reading acknowledgments and I put a lot of thought into mine.

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