I thought I’d reprint Gary Wenkle Smith’s “Dedication” page as a great example of the evolving relationship between an author and his faithful “tough-coach” editor, in this case his wife, Pat Rearic Smith! May everyone evolve in this direction.
To quote a song from my generation: “This is dedicated to the one I love.”
My wife, Pat Rearic Smith, has been my best friend, lover and wife for forty-six years. It hasn’t been easy being married to me, I assure you. Not all have been blissful years, and I am responsible for most of the unpleasantness. Yet, the good times have put those other days in the distant fog, and we have a great life today, without remorse or recriminations.
During these past several years while I have become serious about my writings, she has been the one person who has steadfastly stuck with me. She has been unbending in her desire to guide me past my many faults, as a writer and a man. When I tried to mold myself into the stories I wished to tell, she removed the frill and repetition written by someone who really hadn’t a clue about half the time. When I did know what I was doing, I still needed to ask her to help me do it much more simply.
Having trained to write as a lawyer made writing for enjoyment an onerous task. Lawyer’s are repetitive in our legal briefs. We are taught: tell them what you are going to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you have told them. The best legal story tellers repeat themselves with eloquence.
My first editing with Pat was a war. I had asked her to help me with The Last Midnight, my first published novel. Then I rejected her many suggestions to the point of turning her away. After begging her to give me a second chance, I wasn’t much better at accepting her proposals that I give up significant amounts of my writing and live without it. I remember feeling betrayed at her intimation that she declared such a large amount of my precious words unworthy of publication. I confess to being burdensome and defensive.
I praise her for her amazing patience, and love. She has stuck with me in editing all that I have written. She can take long paragraphs I have labored over for hours and turn them into three sentences that say everything I was trying to convey. She can read an entire novel in a few days and make all the necessary corrections. It took a while, but now I don’t ask that she edit it so that I can see what she has changed. I accept her work without question and move forward with completion of whatever I have in progress.
So, to you my dear, love of my life, best friend, my Woman-Girl, I thank you for staying with a guy like me. I am truly grateful.