Sunday, November 9, 2008

Book people offer the kindess of strangers

You know that old scraw that doctors and lawyers never escape a dinner party without a inquiry about a rash or ex-wife (or both)? Most often, however, these inquiries are met with hesitation.

Given that nearly every one of us thinks a book waits to be called from brain to paper, us book people can be popular people at parties, too. But here's a difference: with some exception, most any book person will offer free help when asked.

Today, as Mr. Obie Joe watches the game with the Miss Obie Joe, Ms. Obie Joe is working on a manuscript given to her by the friend of the neighbor on the hill. Some of the changes will be stylistic, others reside with defining the author's vision. Did the writer want to emphasize his growing up days, or with his time overseas as a mercenary soldier? We'll never be this author's agent, official editor or publisher, yet the impact of these early decisions will move the thing.

And that's why an acknowledgments section on a book can resemble a Christmas Card list with its sentiment and size. Not only does mean the author is a grateful sort, but is also an author smart enough to ask for help from all corners.

Which we're always happy to front free of charge.

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