How to Do Stuff #38 – How to Dedicate Something

2009 October 12
by mockers

In MemIt used to be that whenever I ripped open a novel I would fly past the dedication without thinking anything of it.  While I am sure that the guy’s wife (Judy) and kids (Christian and Samantha) really did inspire the guy to finally finish that book about witches and wizards that practice auto-erotic asphyxiation, I just want to get past the introductions and get to the wands and the wands (if you know what I mean). 

Now that I’ve actually written a book, I am slightly more interested in who these authors want to thank.  I want to know if the author’s experience was similar to mine.  I’d love to take comfort in the fact that I wasn’t alone as I punched my way through the manuscript keystroke by keystroke. Now I always look carefully at the dedication.  Mostly, the authors thank the same people. 

 They thank the people that encouraged them to keep going when they worried that the book was no good.  They thank the agent that worked tirelessly to place the book with a publisher.  They thank the “first readers” who helped get the book from the rough to the final draft. Finally, they thank the husband/wife and kids who sat neglected for hours as the book was written.

Unless something changes, I will be dedicating my book to absolutely fucking no one. The dedication will read as follows:

This book is dedicated to no one.  Thanks for nothing dickheads.

Okay…maybe Granger (who I stole the idea for this mock from btw) and Brad and Jeff and Mistie and Kat and my mom helped a little, but otherwise I was an island.  My point here is that a novel takes a long time to write and it represents a tremendous effort from a lot of people.  If someone dedicates a novel to you, the gesture should be received as significant.  This considerable piece of time and effort was spent while thinking of you.

By contrast, if someone lays down and gets the words “In memory of Nanna 1926-2001” tattooed under their shoulder below a drawing of a rose…If I were Nanna, I would receive the gesture as somewhat easy and hollow.  Further, I would receive customized lettering on the back window of a 1995 Ford Bronco in the same manner. See, “in memory of” is really an abbreviation.  It is short for, “This play/opera/novel/annoying one-man show (John Leguizamo only)/etc. is dedicated to the memory of Nanna”.  I take this to mean that the audience should consider while consuming whatever the thing is that Nanna was a major influence on the creator and think fondly of her.

Is it possible that you somehow manufactured the glass on the back of your 1995 Ford Bronco?  Did you temper it by heating and cooling it, all while having sorrowful thoughts over the loss of dear Nanna?

Did you toil and sweat while creating  your shoulder?  Perhaps you drew the rose in Nanna’s memory?  Did you tattoo it on there yourself?  Is the ink you pushed into your skin somehow in Nanna’s memory?  Of course not, you paid a fat guy who listens to speed metal and gets up every 30 seconds to turn down the air conditioner to draw it.

I know you miss Nanna and I am sorry for your loss.  Unfortunately, sitting behind you in traffic reading about your thoughtful dedication of a window to Nanna’s memory does nothing to exhibit how Nanna inspired you to do anything except stick premanufactured letters to your car. 

I have written before (sorry about the formatting over there, the piece is so old that the html is falling apart) about how the way that people cope with loss can be strange and humorous to those of us looking in from the outside.  Please don’t let me stop you from doing whatever it takes to help you get over the loss of Nanna – it would just be nice if once in a while it could be something of value and substance rather than stickers on your vehicle.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 October 12

    I dedicate this to all those people who thought small of me. Pbbsstt!!!

  2. 2009 October 12

    Damnit! Can anyone recommend a tattoo removal clinic? I’d like to get “Nanna” removed from my right cheek…and mockable removed from the left.

  3. 2009 October 12

    When I do my dedication…it will be to all the people who left me alone. So if you look up the population of the planet…it’s them.
    I never let anyone read my stuff. I write and look around here and see my only wall to bounce stuff off of, has a collection of Nora Roberts and Daneille Steele books.

  4. 2009 October 12

    This is in loving memory of sex more than once a week.

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