Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pater Familia: Tales of Dukinfield: Acknowledgements

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A note from My Father.


This is the most intimidating part of the book to write, for I shall surely omit a close friend or helper. So let me begin by thanking those deserving souls who are omitted below. No slight is intended.

Meri Bernstein, you’re a terrific agent. Thanks for steering, pulling and pushing me through the publishing process.

And thanks to Nina, about whom a few words are in order. My friend Nina is not big on literary criticism. I think she feels unsure of her ground and, having helped me through the throes of mania and the ravages of depression, she is probably reluctant to risk tipping the balance. Nina is a very caring person, a truth she would admit only to her nine indoor and four outdoor cats.

Nonetheless, we have persevered with each other and, in reading her my stories for our mutual entertainment, I have tried to convince this self-described “non people person” that a critique of a story is more useful to me than an expression of support, at least when I’m not depressed. Poor Nina, I put such conflicting claims on her.

So I read her about ten new stories one night, easing her into the process of criticism with,

Tell me what you remember about this story.” and

Tell me what you didn’t understand”. By the last story, one with which I was not happy, I asked,

So, what did you think?”

It stunk.” Said Nina, emphatically.

Er, thank you, but do you think you could be a little more specific?” I asked, constructively.

It stunk worse than a rancid polecat.” Said Nina, helpfully.

Thanks to my dear friends Paul and Tim, who not only have encouraged me to keep writing, but have raised my spirits when low and kept a watchful eye on me when high.

Thanks to Kathleen, my former business associate and current E-mail reviewer and source of never-ending support.

Thanks in particular to Sherry Chappelle, who coached me in the art and craft of writing at the University of Delaware Academy of Life Long Learning and whose expert opinion encouraged me to pursue publication.

And thanks to my three harshest critics; my wife, Ellen, who keeps me down-to-earth, however much I might resent it; my son, Ben, whose encyclopedic knowledge, sharp wit and innate kindness make him a far better writer than I; and my son, Steven, whose high standards and mature judgment will not allow me to declare a story finished before it is complete.

Finally, thanks to the people, police force and EMT’s of Lewes, Delaware, who rescued me from my suicidal depressions, helped me cope with my tremendous manic urges and piloted me through stormy mental seas into their Harbor of Refuge.

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