Tuesday, 10 December 2013

What's in a Dedication?

I usually wait until a manuscript is finished completely before I write the dedication. By the time the story is finished and assigned cover art, I usually get a good view of who this book best represents. Destiny's War was no different for me.

I'm lucky to count so many great friends in my life that it's always a bit tough to choose. In Destiny's War, it wasn't clear to me until I saw some inside art developed by Kari-Ann Anderson, the cover artist of the series.  

It's beautiful and simple - a tender moment between mother and child.  Truth be told, this could represent so many of my friends. But I had seen one of my friends perform this exact tender gesture with her newborn just a week earlier and, despite all of my shoutings about explosions, in the end, Destiny's War and even Fall is really about the love of a mother for her child.

I have so many good friends and I want to shout about them all the time. They're loyal, kind, hardworking, loving and respectful, and beautiful in every single way I can think of. To me, they're the brightest stars in the firmament of my life, right up there with my family. They ARE my family, and their families are my family, and there are precious few things I wouldn't do for each and everyone of them.  There are five of us all together, and they helped to shape my life into what it now is.

One of my friends, Karen, finished university at the same time as me and we both moved to Ottawa, a new city for both of us. We moved into my mother's tiny three-bedroom appartment and had a blast. We bought a cat together - he was orange and got really fat. We watched Digimon and Pokemon and laughed our heads off at ST: Genesis. We got our first full time jobs, discussed our dreams, shared our frustrations.

In 2001, I made the semi-final cut for a Chicken Soup book (before I discovered my fondness for blowing stuff up).  I ran into her room and woke her up, all excited. She hugged me and congratulated me (and didn't tell me to get the hell out), and I think she fell asleep again as I rambled about my writing dreams.

By end of that year, with her support, I'd written my first novel length story. We decided to package it for Christmas and give it to our friends. She drew beautiful pictures and we stayed up an entire night to get it done, giggling and screwing up so many things. So many.

Her dad owned an inn in Gananoque where she'd bring me for weekends, to write away. I got to sing during supper service. She whispered of her dreams and her hopes.

We went away for road trips together, just us, a tent, her car and a big ol' pile of stuff. One night, camping on a cliff in Cape Breton, a storm struck. The wind terrified me and she desperately tried to sleep on as I vanished under the sleeping bag and tried to hide under her, rambling about the fact that this cliff might have been here for thousands of years, but it was going down tonight (hey, I was sleepy!) The next morning, we laughed about it as we drank warm coffee at dawn and changed into our very damp clothes.

We almost made it to Newfoundland. We will, someday.  

With all of my friends, I learned a lot. I learned that friendship is not to be taken for granted. That you have to give and think about what they really need. That you hold your tongue and only whisper encouragements. That you never say "I told you so." That hugs should never be held back. That sometimes, distance is a necessity. That they'll think about these things as much as I will.

With Karen, I went from the whimsical (and psychotic) days of university to tackling this "real world." We learned together about its pitfalls: money, failure, lack of reason and meanness. But we also chose to embrace its wonders: opportunities, hope, laughter and life. And we still learn about it every single day.

So, to you, Karen I dedicate the final volume of the Destiny series. So much of my life would be different without you, my friend. So much of me would be different, the bits that were encouraged to grow and blossom, the parts that keep me going and that I love best of all. Today is your birthday, and I cannot wait to celebrate many more years with you and to see how even more beautiful and amazing you will become, as a friend, a wife, a mother and a kick-ass team member!



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