So you may have heard, two of my Frank’s Place stories were published in a book. A book that actually sells for real money. American money, not the lousy Confederate script they use down here either. I’m not the author of the book, just a contributor. But still, my first real paid writing gig.
I am trying to hook a publisher for the book I have written. It’s really just a bunch of stories, some of which have appeared on the blog and some that haven’t, collated into a 65,000 word pile. But one day I envision it being on the 30% off table at Wal*Mart.
I think a lot about the dedication page in my first published work. I’ve even written it several times over, even more so in my head. On the left is an early sample of one from my first manuscript. But since my first published stuff came as a contributor I didn’t get the chance to write that page. I’ve decided, published book or not, I’m writing a dedication page. Of course the dedication page is for crediting the people in your life who have helped you along the way.
With me it’s more than just helped along the way. The credit for any success I have largely rests with my parents and seven brothers and sisters. There are several moments in my history where they have dragged me to success. The inscription on my retirement plaque from the Air Force sums the family foundation I’ve been afforded over the years: If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
Unfortunately my father passed away this March and won’t see it. So this is really for my mom and my bothers and sisters. I think I mentioned in a previous post we all deal with grief differently. This is a continuation of the grief over my father’s passing. He was 86 and it still doesn’t seem like he lived long enough. My childhood memories of him have become more vivid as time takes me farther from his passing. The post I wrote about him has got me thinking, mulling, ruminating even. Maybe it’s better to say these things to the living instead of saying them about those who have already left us.
So at the risk of awkwardness, uncomfortable-ness, maybe some corny-ness too, here is the current dedication page bouncing around my head as it pertains to my family still walking the earth. Take the off ramp if you were looking for some funny today. This ain’t one of those. This is the dedication page as it will appear if I can ever scam a publisher into paying me for my manuscript.
Dad – Not sure what you were expecting when you handed me the book Treasure Island when I was just a kid, but that has resulted in this. I read, I write, I collect books. My library could never rival yours but it’s on its way. In case you were wondering, your grandson, your namesake, loves books too. At least for the moment anyway.
Thanks Mom – Who would have guessed all those years of your late night TV with the volume set to stun would lay the foundation for my love of European and Early American history. Sitting up late with you watching Upstairs Downstairs and Poldark when I was little sparked my interest in history and in-particular the American Revolution. That time with you was the best introduction to world and culture a kid could get. Listening to your stories as you answered my constant questions is a memory that will never fade. I feel like my story telling is a genetic trait handed down from you and dad.
The next set of names are my brothers and sisters in descending order by age. However, ages are not listed. I’m dumb but I ain’t stupid.
Jimmy, as much as we want to disown your dumb-ass, as much you try to deny your heritage you share with us, you can’t, we can’t. You’re a part of us. As much as we don’t want to admit it, we all share some qualities. My general dislike for the majority of Earth’s population is clearly something I learned from you. I’m blaming my bluntness on you too.
Tommy I bet you thought you punched your ticket to heaven when you won the religion pin at St. Vincent’s Elementary. Well, you may have won your boarding pass, but your first class seat was confirmed this past year. Bearing the burden for others is the common thread of the Saints. Even at our old ages you’re still setting an example to follow.
As a kid I was never afraid when you were around Jane. Except when you got mad and chased Jimmy and Tommy, trying to brain them with a hairbrush. Seriously, no matter what might be happening I always felt like it would be OK because of you. Even when the twins were born I felt as calm as humanly possible in that situation after talking to you. I judge the worthiness of any and all leaders by your traits.
If I had to attribute my Air Force career to any one person it would be you Carol. I mentioned on your birthday this year how the little things can mean a lot in a person’s life. Your confidence that something would work out for me as I floundered through high-school set me at ease. I replayed the conversation a lot over the years. I built a 22 year military career on it and then started this. Something always works out.
Mom and Dad laid the foundation for my education but Susan, you literally paved the way. Kick starting my college career is hard to quantify and tougher to repay (check is in the mail). I wonder something else though, when you read posts on Frank’s Place can you hear your own voice? Our sense of humor is as identical as a trait like that can be.
Besides teaching me the sacred art of the escape from high chairs, cribs, playpens, etc… I remember getting my first lesson on plagiarism from you Mare. Copying a book dad had given me so I could “write my own book”, you told me it was illegal to do it. Good tip Mare, good tip. Those summer days during high-school always stick in my mind every time I cook, along with you tutoring me through freshman year Algebra.
This is my spot in the birth order.
Kathy, if the good ol boys down here had to describe you in one sentence it would be, “Damn she’s one tough son of a gun!” (Until they saw your obsessive organization. They can’t like that.) But trust me that is high as a compliment as you could ever get and I agree. Our bare knuckle fights while we watched WWF Wrestling were some of the most frightful moments of my life. You are an impressive force of nature. A certain niece of yours takes after you. And that’s a good thing.
So that’s it, in all it’s awkward, emotion sharing, tree hugging glory. That’s what my first dedication page will say should the moment ever present itself. (And yes of course my wife and kids will be mentioned. But they get that almost every day here.)
I should make it clear that’s what the first page of my first dedication page will look like. I have seven brothers and sisters, but a handful of brothers and sisters-in-law, and about 50 or 60 nieces and nephews. Hard to say really, there are so many of them. Thankfully the family heritage and history is in good hands with that lot.
The next generation is better than the one that birthed it.
Here is the post that sort of triggered this one: Francis John Linardo