Being Defiant By Deb Anna

I am being a bad deb and should absolutely have my pearls — not to mention ball gown — yanked away for this, but I’m ignoring this week’s scheduled topic and writing instead about the week I had writing my acknowledgments for my book.

I hope I’m not the only writer who started thinking about this before the book was even a book. It was surely before I wrote my first sentence of it, probably around the time I had the thought, “Hey, this would make a great idea for a novel.” Possibly it was even further back — say, when I was in sixth grade and my teacher gave me a B- on a paper I was sure deserved an A and thought, “Someday I’m going to write a book and not thank her in it.” I know that last year, quite obnoxiously, I would make off-hand remarks — say, that I was absolutely going to thank Trader Joe’s Salt and Savory Mix in my book since that particular food had helped me through many days when I simply didn’t think I could work on the thing anymore — to people before I even dared hope that my book would actually sell.

>So I wrote them. And it was fun. And I did obsess, removing one person when I realized he really didn’t belong there and adding another when I thought she’d really be hurt because I included someone I met through her — all the standard people-pleasing stuff. My list was long. So I asked my agent if she thought writers who had an endless stream of acknowledgments were obnoxious. She, ever tactful, simply said that the shorter the list, the more each acknowledgment means.

I haven’t changed a word of it yet. After all, I don’t want to hurt Trader Joe’s Salt and Savory Mix’s feelings.

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7 thoughts on “Being Defiant By Deb Anna

  1. I love reading the acknowlegement section – I vote, keep it long! But then again, I think Elizabeth Wurtzel set the gold standard in “Prozac Nation” with her meandering thanks to everyone she encountered in her first 29 years of life. That told me more about her than her entire memoir. Your agent and editor may not agree 🙂

    I think it’s vital to thank food products, however. Readers wonder what inspires you – it’s only fair to let them know!

  2. In anticipating this week’s scheduled topic, I speculated on what hairy things lurked under the Debs’ beds. And now Anna has revealed — in a roundabout way — that her hairy things are a stockpile of Trader Joe’s Salt and Savory Mix! Hee.

  3. Oh this made me laugh! Did you see the Oscar speech where the guy mentioned people he didn’t want to thank. Like the teacher who told him he wasn’t funny? Loved that.

  4. I’m all for thanking food products! What a wonderful idea. I think Earl Grey tea and those wonderful little semi-sweet chocolate chips did far more for me than the people I actually ended up thanking!

  5. Okay, you’re totally going to up the sales on those Trader Joe thingies. And, I don’t even have an agent (YET!) but I’ve kept a little scrap piece of paper with people who I would want to acknowledge, so no, you’re definitely not crazy!

    Oh, to someday be able to write a for-real one!

  6. Oy, Tish, I took someone out too! It was politically incorrect, unfortunately (a family thing). Still, it’s in my galleys, just won’t be in the final.

    I loved writing my acknolwedgments, too – it was one of the only creative things I did after my book was written. Shoot, I forgot to thank the chocolate. There’s always the chocolate …

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