The acknowledgements in my book turned out different from others I’ve read. I think they’re interesting, and thought I’d share. Maybe you know where I’m coming from.
I wrote this book by myself. It was long, it was hard, and it was lonely.
I wrote this book in the morning before the kids woke up and at night after they went to sleep. I wrote this book on weekends and holidays and when other people were on vacation. I owe this book to nobody myself. My own hard work and my own solitary labor.
But no! That’s a terribly cramped and stingy definition of gratitude. This book was a collective effort. I owe thanks to countless before me.
I owe deepest thanks to Amy Mortimer, whom I had the good fortune to marry and who supported her husband’s desire to spend time like this. I owe thanks to my parents who raised the kind of kid who could do it. And I owe thanks to my own kids, who shared me with this quixotic adventure.
Of course, I owe professional thanks as well. To Richard Peabody for his novel seminar. To Bob Borosage and Roger Hickey of the Campaign for America’s Future, and Isaiah Poole for copy editing in the endgame.
Behind them lurk so many others. I owe thanks to my high school teachers, Ms. Hourihan who taught me sentences and Ms. Pertschuk who taught me paragraphs. I owe thanks to Mr. Leithem for his cynicism, to Mr. Phillips for his excellent judgment, and to my college physics professor (Was it Ralph Baierlein?) who made room for the Voice of the Dolphins in our semester on relativity. I owe thanks to Arlington County, Virginia, for its excellent library system, and to Temple Beth El for a quiet place to work twice a week.
The list goes on and on. I thank friends whose conversations shaped the political backstory of the novel. Drew Shepherd taught me the acronym PPW, and his lovely bride, Laura, fooled me once. I owe thanks to Patrice Gaines of Laughing in the Dark, Rick Perlstein of Nixonland, and Tyrone Parker who always greets with a hug and a smile. I even owe thanks for action at a distance. George Soros may save the world despite itself. The city of Bombay inspired Kaiserville, and the DC jail and the Sussex II prison in Virginia informed the belly chains of chapter three and Jessica’s failed attempt to bang on the bars in chapter twenty-four.
I owe thanks to people who declined to publish this novel but in so doing, taught me something about the manuscript or the publishing industry. Literary agents Liz Trupin-Pulli, Timothy Wager and Manie Barron all declined with class. I even learned something from agents who couldn’t be bothered to return my SASE. It all goes into the mix.
I might fancy that I sat down at a blank page to write – but hardly! The page was covered with fingerprints. People whose names I’ve forgotten. Bumper stickers on cars of people I never met. I owe thanks to all of them. If I like what I now see on the page, I owe thanks to everyone who left fingerprints on it.
But especially I thank my wife. Born on summer solstice, she truly is the longest, sunniest day of the year. And thanks again to my parents and my terrific children. Starting tomorrow, I won’t yell at you after bedtime.
Thank you all.
Eric Lotke, January 2009
(If you buy the book or send me a thought, maybe someday I can thank you too).