An earlier blog responded to a reader’s request for tips on writing an acknowledgment page. In follow-up to that, here is a good example of an acknowledgments page from a book BPS Books recently published, Finding Matthew: A Child with Brain Damage, a Young Man with Mental Illness, a Son and Brother with Extraordinary Spirit by Donna Kirk. Note how she avoids turning it into a thudding list of thank-yous!
Finding Matthew took me forty years to compose. However, I only started to write things down at age fifty, when my hot flashes started. I’d heard rumours about failing memory, and I didn’t want to lose any of the details of Matthew’s remarkable life. Twenty years later, two years after his death on July 6, 2010, I finished the book.
I wanted the story to honour Matthew by telling the truth about his life and our life as a family. I wanted the story to reflect the valuable experience I had as Matthew’s mother. Experiences are truly appreciated only if you’ve overcome obstacles, solved problems, and learned to compromise. You can never do that alone. And I learned I could never have written this book without the inspiring help I received.
For many years, I didn’t tell anyone I was writing a book. Then I signed up for creative writing classes, and Brian Henry, my teacher, encouraged me to get serious about the project. His persuasive critiques and the more direct opinions of classmates, and, in particular, my critique group Fiction Highway Writing Guild, helped mould my words into a cohesive tale.
But no one has been able to teach me how to spell! Not my agent, Susan Walker, my editor and publisher Don Bastian, my husband Ed, whose spelling is always perfect, or my friends, Ann Veale, Vice Principal of St. Mildred’s Lightbourn School for many years, and Joyce Wayne, Professor of Journalism at Sheridan College.
Our children Kelley and Joseph, and Joseph’s wife, Crystal, spontaneously supported Matthew’s talents and trials. They continue to be proud to talk about their sibling and brother-in-law.
All these people read the evolving manuscript and offered advice. And because of their help, I am content with the final result.
Through this book, I want my two granddaughters, Sloane, age three and a half, and Reese, two, to know their uncle Matt as a real person, not just as someone who, as Sloane describes it, is flying up in the clouds, perhaps in an airplane that doesn’t come down.
Matthew’s life would not have been as full and as rich as it was without Lisa and Bernie Hennessey, Marguerite Rouleau, Beverley Langley, Michele Lowe-Shaw, and Brampton Caledon Community Living – nor as long as it was, without the commitment and dedication of Miss Violet Gayle and of his doctors, particularly Dr. Ted Graham, Dr. Gerald Taylor, Dr. L. P. Voruganti, and Dr. Barry Stanley.