July 22, 2005

I Would Like to Thank Myself and God

Cranky tips on how not to do acknowledgments, with instructive examples from Chuck Klosterman and Steve Almond.

There is not one piece of the book publishing process that is not a potential well-spring of embarrassment. As with anything that is done chiefly for effect, there are a lot ways to go with acknowledgments, and all of them are wrong. Even keeping it simple, as the author of the piece recommends, can seem pretentious in its own way, like you're bashing people over the head with your relentless good taste and elegance. But you can't just skip them, as I imagine many authors might prefer, so you do what you got to do. If that involves writing cloying prose poems in honor of your publicist, or thanking God or your cat, so what? You've got to put something in there.

That said, though, this excerpt from Almond's acknowledgments (I assume it's from his latest, The Evil B. B. Chow) is really quite something:

...anyone -- I mean anyone -- who takes up the holy office of making sentences, songs, paintings, those artifacts which serve as testament to our otherwise unarticulated fears and wishes, and last but not least Abraham Lincoln, a man of astonishing eloquence and moral courage, who died, many years ago, for the sins of this country. Let us, in this age of unremitting grievance, choose as he did: to love, to sacrifice, to forgive...

(via Bookslut.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at July 22, 2005 05:06 PM | TrackBack

Book slut? I like the idea. I put plenty of sex in my own book “Memoirs of a drugged-up Sex-Crazed Yippie.” People just can’t get enough books about sex.

Posted by: Otto at July 22, 2005 07:22 PM

I think you should just thank Zaphod and be done with it.

Posted by: Wes at July 22, 2005 10:03 PM

This advice would never work for CD liner notes. I'm the type who usually reads the notes and often times they seem to be a list of "hey look at every band we ever played with, every radio show we were ever played on, and every shitty zine that ever e-mailed us some questions."

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. Before the days of the internet (yes, they did exist), that's how I found out about other bands, other radio stations and other shitty zines.

Posted by: The Pope of Chili Town at July 23, 2005 12:28 AM

You mean like thanking D. Manus Pinkwater in the liner notes of a punk rock CD?

Posted by: Matt at July 25, 2005 01:47 PM

I assume all the good acknowledgement jokes have been done. Thanking:
- yourself
- the Egyptians for inventing paper
- that one obscure author without whom you'd have nothing to plagiarize
- No one, because they're all a bunch of jerks


Posted by: dave bug at July 26, 2005 08:15 PM

That Almond quote above has to be a joke, right? Do we still allow such wankers to walk our streets unmedicated?

Posted by: Jason Toon at July 29, 2005 02:51 PM
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