Who knows the importance of community to a writer better than Julia Fierro? In 2002, she founded The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, one of New York’s most important literary institutions. Over 2000 writers have passed through Sackett Street’s writing classes to date. Julia’s debut novel, CUTTING TEETH, comes out May 13th, 2014 from St. Martin’s Press. Take a look at Julia’s social network channels (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest) and you’ll see that she’s at the center of a thriving group of some of the most gifted writers of our time, sharing news, advice, and pithy humor on everything from doing copyedits with a sleeping child in your lap to a rave review in a national magazine. With the same dedication to community that Sackett Street is known for, Julia came up with a lovely collection of enigmatic book dedications, and some thoughts on to whom writers bestow this high honor. Her post also functions as an excellent mid-winter “To-read” list, which is why we’ve linked to each book on Goodreads below.
Love is sacrifice.
What is more sacred to a writer than that stretch of white space at the start of their published book, otherwise known as The Dedication?
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I asked writers about the people, places and pets they chose to honor in that sacred spot. Their speedy and enthusiastic responses were surprising. Unlike the dreaded acknowledgments (dreaded by me, in any case—what if I leave someone out?), for most, the dedication is a no-brainer. They simply know who is most deserving. We won’t mention the handful of books dedicated to partners, lovers and friends, who may have proved unworthy of the dedication later. That is another story.
The type of love and gratitude that motivates most writers’ dedications falls into three major categories: partner, friendship, and familial.
Precious are the words worthy of a writer’s partner—wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, soulmate—who may be responsible for convincing us to take that dusty manuscript out of the drawer. They are our constant companions who put up with our ever-growing piles of books, our scraps of notes, as well as the stratospheric highs and lows of our writing process and publishing experience. Our partners tolerate being passed over for the company of imaginary people who exist solely in our minds; they put up with our doubt and anxiety, with us waking them in the wee hours of the night to ask—do you think character X is believable? Do you think the book has enough narrative momentum? Do you think anyone will want to represent it, publish it, read it, love it?
Gillian Flynn, in her darkly thrilling novel, DARK PLACES:
What can I say about a man who knows how I think and still sleeps next to me with the lights off?
F. Scott Fitzgerald in THE GREAT GATSBY (Therese Anne Fowler echoed this dedication in her 2013 book Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald):
Emma Straub’s pitch perfect dedication in her Hollywood-themed novel, LAURA LAMONT’S LIFE IN PICTURES:
FOR MY HUSBAND,
A GOLDEN STATUE
IF EVER THERE WAS ONE
And love tongue-in-cheek style—David Rosen’s dedication to his wife in his novel, I JUST WANT MY PANTS BACK:
For Rachel, Damn It Continue reading