Tomorrow is the official publication date for my debut children’s novel. I started working on what became THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY in July, 2008. You can imagine how many beta readers, paid-for critiques, SCBWI retreats, critique group meetings, and hand-wringing sessions it took to get me from idea to published book.
In the back of the book, after the story is over but before the list of poetic forms and writing prompts, you’ll find the formal acknowledgments. I limited thank yous to people who beta read in the year before the book sold, otherwise the acknowledgments could have doubled as a phone book
But now that launch day is almost here, there is one big “Thank you!” I wish I had included.
Today’s post is devoted to my parents.
My parents did not give me feedback on my book. I wouldn’t let them read it until the ARCs arrived.
I never cried on their shoulders about how hard it was when agents sent form rejects or said a verse novel wasn’t for them.
I didn’t do these things because I’m an adult, and proud of it, but sometimes that means I forget to thank my parents.
So, here is a great big acknowledgment just for you, Mom and Dad.
Thank you, Dad, for reciting “The Song of Hiawatha” and “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” to us when we were little. You are such a great performer that I can still picture “the shining Big-Sea-Water” and hear the hoof beats of Paul Revere’s horse pounding through the night. You taught me to love the music of poetry.
Thank you, Mom, for sharing your love of William Wordsworth’s “The Daffodils,” and for being an artist. Your tool is the paintbrush, mine is words. I pursued my dream of being a writer, encouraged by your belief that we should all follow our bliss.
When I left home for NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program, my parents gave me a special gift. I went hunting for it today. It’s dusty and some of the lines have faded. The butterfly in the corner is in tattered pieces. But I’ve saved the list poem they wrote for me all those years ago.
This week, when I publish my fourth book — the first from a major publishing house — I want to thank my parents for their faith in me.
Why do I, Laura Elizabeth Dickson, write?
by Pauline and Franklyn Dickson
I write to heighten my own awareness of life.
I write to lure and enchant and console others.
I write to serenade my lover.
I write to be able to transcend my life, to reach beyond it.
I write to teach myself to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth.
I write to expand my world when I feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely.
I write so that I can create a world in which I can live.
I write to integrate the different women inside me.
I write to solidify my inner convictions.
I write to balance two worlds — earth and imagination.
I write that I can communicate by way of the emotions, imagery, and myth.
I write in order to liberate other women, to inspire other women.
I write in order to grow and to reach my potential as a human being.
My writing is an inner journey, a quest for a center, a gift to the world.
–With Love from Mom and Anais Nin
I write to earn a living, to be financially independent.
I write to please myself, my parents, my family and friends.
I write to communicate!
I write to express myself, what I see, feel, and experience.
I write because I care!
I write to celebrate myself.