Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm expecting (what I hope to be) my final galleys for God Damsel to arrive today. The one change I made since ordering the galleys is on the Acknowledgments page. That's tricky business. It's the opportunity to both honor and thank those you list and unintentionally insult those left out. It's why the 13th wise woman/fairy/witch always puts a curse on the host's offspring when she's not invited to the party. They only had place settings for 12.

Between last week when I ordered the galley and today, I realized I unintentionally left out at least 20 people--and its quite likely there are more who haven't yet come to mind.

There's a handful of people who acted as editors, directly assisting with the manuscript. I don't think I forgot any of them, dear lord, please make sure I didn't forget. As I thought more about it, there were a number of people who didn't do editorial work or directly support GD, but were (and still are) tireless supporters of No Tell Books. They all, not-so indirectly, helped make GD possible, at least in the way it came to be. Coconut Books offered to publish it, so it would have came to be in some form, but whenever you hand over your manuscript, no matter how awesome and wonderful the press is (and Bruce C. was quite awesome and wonderful to work with), you lose some control. For this particular book, I did not want to hand over anything. I'm very grateful to have my own, already existing, press that allowed me the clear option to do it myself. A major factor in all of this was due to the generosity of many.

Many people arranged multiple readings for NTB authors, wrote multiple books reviews and pieces on the press, conducted both print and audio interviews, assigned books in courses, invited me to speak in classrooms and conferences about the press, helped at bookfairs and so on. Without their contributions, I very likely would not have been able to operate the press for as long as I have. These series of "little" favors and gestures made all the difference. In the press' almost five years, it's accumulated many gifts.

I'm a bit ashamed that I didn't fully appreciate the magnitude until now. I never put it all together.

As I wrote out the list I was struck with how many people offered their time, skills and efforts. The list kept growing and growing. I remembered three names since I started writing this post. There are so many and now . . . I've run out of room on the page. I can't widen the margins, squoosh the lines or make the font any smaller. Tonight I will wake in the middle of the night screaming out another name . . . helpless.

I limited the list to those who gave multiple times. The list will have to be incomplete. I hope no one omitted will be hurt or feel that I don't appreciate what they did for the press. To avoid this inevitable situation, I considered limiting the acknowledgements to just those who directly helped with GD, but that felt incomplete and . . . cowardly. I console myself with the belief that perfection is a perversion, both a fantasy and sickness, a static ideal that neither matures nor evolves. It's better to work towards a full development which includes our many shadows and "lesser," not yet realized, qualities.

That's what I'm telling myself tonight.


  1. You're right about perfection, certainly.

    I read recently a beautiful acknowledgments page, for Rodney Yee's *Yoga: Poetry of the Mind,* which he starts off by saying he's always thought long acknowledgment pages were silly, until he wrote a book. He then proceeds to acknowledge a long list of folk who helped birth the book, and ends with an apology to everyone he's sure he forgot.

    I just got news this morning that, after being in queue for almost a year, my own first book of poems is in production! Ack! It starts.

  2. Congratulations on the movement of your book. It can be agonizing when things are stalled for a while.