Warning: This will probably be quite sappy. Read at your own peril.
With Luminescence about two months from being released, I've had a lot on my mind.
I've written before about how much thought goes in to choosing the people to whom I dedicate my books. I realize that most readers just skim over stuff like this, but to me, it's a big deal, so I spend a lot of time thinking about it. This is especially true for this book, the conclusion to a trilogy that has become very close to my heart.
Of course, there are always many people who have provided help and support. I could honestly dedicate every book to my wife, for example. And to my children and students. And, I did. Again.
My wife is incredible. She has provided support in every possible way--both in emotional terms as well as in practical ways. Writing requires long hours and there is no way around that. She's graciously made that a possibility. Likewise, my younger children have been very patient with me when I was under deadline, and provided encouragement and wisdom along the way. And, as always, my students bring so much into my life and I am richer for their presence.
But there are four specific names that I mentioned as well. One is obvious. My daughter has been an incredible help from the beginning. She has spent hours and hours in the car listening to my ideas as I talked through potential plot ideas and character arcs. She's read draft after draft and provided both support as well as critique. She's been an invaluable help and support in the creation of this whole trilogy, providing patience and enthusiasm. I love her more than I can say, and cannot imagine a better daughter. She brings so much into my life, and I am grateful to have her. Quite frankly, my wife and I did the world a favor and made it a much better place when we brought her into this world.
In addition to my daughter, there are three others who have sort of become like daughters, I suppose. Or at least nieces :) I met each of these young women when they were my students. Over the years, we worked together in the theatre program and classes. They have been stage managers, advisees, choreographers, and performers.
Banished to the front seat of the minivan on the way home from a birthday party, Leah read an early draft of The Kindling one night as the rest of girls in the car chatted and giggled. She provided valuable feedback on all three books, and shot the photos for the book trailers. She was also a first-rate stage manager and the first student to properly observe my birthday, among other things. I also think our plays mattered to her as much as they did to me.
Avery never finished the first draft of The Kindling. It's still somewhere in her house, I think. However, she was Leah's co-conspirator in the birthday observation, and beyond that, she is an extremely talented dancer and choreographer. Since graduating, she's donated her time and talents to her alma mater, making three productions so much better, and becoming an invaluable collaborator and partner-in-theatrical-crime.
Emma came a little after the others, becoming an all-star stage manager in a way that perhaps surprised us both. I've rarely met anyone who is so beloved by younger children, adults, and peers at the same time. Emma blends great competence with a huge heart. Everyone just loves her. And for good reason. At theatre awards, she gave me one of the nicest, most memorable gifts I've ever received. And now, she helps Avery.
Most students move on and that's the end of it. But, for various reasons, these three came back, continuing to help in meaningful ways. This has provided me the opportunity to continue working with them. Over the years, they have gone from being talented students to valued colleagues and collaborators, people I respect and enjoy, and I hope that will continue. Working with them is a great delight, and they are blessings in my life. I love watching them grow into the amazing people they were born to be. Each of them has incredible gifts, and each has given me something unique, for which I will always be grateful. Oscar Hammerstein said, "...if you become a teacher, by your students you'll be taught." So, to these, my teachers, I dedicate Luminescence, a book which explores the way teacher-student relationships evolve and grow as the students mature.
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