As we get closer to publication with PUNISHMENT, I’m experiencing new and interesting things. For instance, the other day I received a form to fill out, asking about my preferences for the kind of reader we should use for the audio version of the book. I was floored by this. To dream of hundreds and potentially thousands of people reading something I’ve written is staggering, but somehow to imagine one professional reading it and recording the audio for others to hear is beyond my ability to grasp.
Another of the new experiences has been writing acknowledgements. You know, the last part of a book where the writer goes into detail about who they’d like to thank? It was hard to write, not because I have difficulty thanking people, but because there are so many people I feel I need to thank, many of whom either don’t know I exist or we met so fleetingly they’ve undoubtedly forgotten.
There was a nurse that was with us for all of two minutes after Heather was born. She just stopped in for a second, but took the time to relate a little part of her life to us. There was something about the way she spoke, and the story she related, that made her memorable. I thought of her when I was imagining a scene in the book.
But how can I thank her? I don’t know her name, and couldn’t pick her out of a line-up, but I can see her in that moment, you know? I have some ghost image of her in mind, or some replication that actually looks nothing like her. And that’s just it; it’s not her that I remember, but that moment, the details of it, the little meanings that are caught from the way an arm is moved, the precise moment when a smile arrives, or when the eyes widen or thin down. It’s all of these little nuances that feed a writer’s toolbox, and my toolbox is overflowing… which means I could thank literally thousands of people. More and more each day. Impossible to keep up with, impossible to know.
But I do want to thank her, and everyone else who has inadvertently contributed, because of how many times a person has spoken about their life or related their experiences. In their own ways–in all our own ways–we are doing what any writer does when they put it into book form for others to read. We’re telling stories and hoping to relate to one another, hoping to find that others are just as crazy/sad/happy/demented/whatever as we are.
It’s time spent. To me, time is the only valuable currency in this world. Money is just a standard means of transaction. You make it, you spend it, you have lots of it, you have none of it, but there is always the concept that you can get more of it, and therefore make more transactions. But what about time? You can’t make more. You get what you get, and dammit, you don’t even know how much!
So, I’m thankful to each and every one of you who ever spent some of your time with me, be it five minutes, five hours, or five years. No matter what I write down as my acknowledgments, know that I value your time most of all.