Book-Writing Observation #1: I’m Gonna Leave You Out

Lots of hand-wringing going on here this morning.  I’m making solid progress at this phase of slapping small pieces of clay together so as to start from a big lumpy mess of stories ready for the carving. I find myself re-reading blog posts from years ago or months ago and sniffling back tears or chortling aloud. The dog, lying prone on the living room carpet this morning, is thoroughly confused by my sudden demonstrations of emotion in an otherwise empty room. Like I said, the actual writing part seems to come easily.  Not wringing my hands over that, at least not yet.  

It’s the “Acknowledgements” section that puts a pit in my stomach. Ties me in knots. Paralyzed. 

No matter how much thought I put into this as-yet-unwritten area, I know for a fact that I will leave someone out.  Not on purpose, mind you.  But it will feel like on purpose to them.  And this absolutely terrifies me. 

So I should apologize in advance, right now, to all the important people who have come and gone or stayed in my life since, well, probably well before I was ever alive.  I  mean, how deep does this go?  Do we go back to my father’s father?  Homo Erectus? The single-celled organism popping up at the start of the evolutionary chain? The “Big Bang” that allegedly created the planet on which I sit? Pottery Barn for the chair I’m sitting on, for that matter?

If I really think about it, doesn’t just about everyone and everything have an arguably legitimate claim to have played some role in who I am and what I write? That is a shit-ton of people who will proudly turn to the “Acknowledgments” section with pride in their chests and knowing grins, fully and justifiably expecting their names to appear. They scan slowly at first, then picking up speed, the knowing grin disappearing and replaced by furrowed brow.  Then they will run out of words to read, the final period essentially serving as a cliff.  First I ignore them and now I’ve thrown them off a cliff!  See what I mean?  Totally debilitating. How does anyone get to the actual business of writing a book, with this particular weight of the world draped about the shoulders?

And don’t get me started on the “Dedication” page at the front of the book….

Thanks for reading.

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