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Each Name Matters

November, 2019

September Sunrise, Rockport, MA: Photo by Martha Clark Scala

Praise for the Encouragers

If your life is a book that you are authoring, who are the people who have helped you write the narrative?

I ask this question because I often wonder how many people actually read an author’s acknowledgments. Of course, I hope the answer is “everyone!”

I realize the page(s) usually found at the back of a book may seem like a boring list of names to the reader. Likewise, you may exit the movie theater while the credits roll thinking it’s “just” another list of names.

But each name matters.

Just like each bit of gratitude we express to someone matters.

In this month of Thanksgiving, let’s praise and encourage the encouragers. These are people who help us achieve our dreams, check things off on a bucket list, or accomplish tasks that challenge the heck out of us.

It is hard for me to believe that my memoir, Assembling a Life, will celebrate its first birthday next month. I am so grateful to those who have purchased, read and sent feedback to me about the book. Thank you!

Special thanks to Robert Davis, Darlene Frank, Anne Robinson Hallerman, Jim Hanna, Carol McClelland, Cindy Mohr and Geri Spieler for their generous reviews!

What follows is the Acknowledgments that I wrote for Assembling a Life. This was my opportunity to offer public acknowledgment to each encourager and helper who contributed to the fruition of a long-held dream. Each name matters.

If you decide to read through the next paragraphs, be thinking about what names matter in the book of your life. Because aren’t those names a big source of your joy?

Acknowledgments from Assembling a Life

“One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement.

When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold

you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.”

~ John O’Donohue

So many instruments and players were needed to perform the symphony of creating this book. As the conductor of this imaginary orchestra, my appreciation and gratitude for the wondrous music contributed by so many individuals is immeasurable.

In the strings section were those who put up with some of my worst screeching (cue high-pitched violin) moments and who also served as amazing cheerleaders. Couldn’t have done it without you Beth Bastasch, Geoff Brown, Diane Byster, Monika Hartwig, Carol McDonald, Michael Sally and Karen Wride.

The woodwinds included friends (in addition to those in the strings section) who read anything from a single chapter to the entire manuscript and gave me feedback. Thanks for playing an awesome and encouraging role Claudette Bergman, Lynnette Carey, Jana McBurney-Lin, Sue Morgan, Andrew Ramer and Emily Welch.

Boosting me in the brass were family members who provided information, insights, photographs and fortification. A big bow to Dee Cameron, Charles Clark, Nancy Clark, Susan F. Clark, Tom Clark, Tif Crowell, Christine Henry, Eleanor Muehlig, Danielle Potheau, Kim Scala, Joanna Clark Swayze, Joe Swayze and Akaya Windwood. And of course this symphony would not exist if I had not felt the loving presence of my deceased family members including Geoffrey Clark, Grace Reasoner Clark, Homer and Margaret Clark, John and Pie Clark, Martha Shurtleff Clark, Nicholas Clark, Ruth Clark Poole, Margo Clark Potheau, Ruth Shurtleff Ross, Blanche Scala and Flavel and Isabel Shurtleff.

Percussion instruments may not have played every note, but they had significant impact. I consider these contributors my tangible intangibles. A grateful nod to, Doug Baird, Blockbuster Plots Pure and Simple by Martha Alderson, California Writers Club (San Francisco Peninsula Branch), Soyeun Choi, Cynthia Clifford, Costco, Mark Dowling, Bobbi Emel Wilmoth, Kevin Evans, Steve Freedkin, Steven Goff and Jennifer Bloomquist at Global PSD, Laurie Glover and The Bishop’s Ranch, Google, Mark Hatasaka, Mary Beth Holub O’Connor, Bette Houtchens, Michaels Stores, Setareh Moafi, Carol Naber, New Camaldoli Hermitage, Val Sherer, Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, Amber Sumrall, Michael Walker,Wikipedia and Judy Yamamoto.

Finally, there were some virtuoso soloists. Like Dad’s dahlias, they stood out in a garden of greats.

Bob Davis gets the gardenia award. With great willingness, he read numerous drafts, sent many you-can-do-its my way, and provided a few necessary kicks in the butt.

Darlene Frank was a rose without thorns. A thousand thanks to Darlene for being my exceptional editor, phenomenal coach and very sweet friend. I might still be mired in drafts if it weren’t for her super-skilled labors.

Sue Murphy Murray bloomed and lifted my spirits through all seasons. A perennial listener, supporter and loyal soul sister, she has believed in me since what feels like the beginning of time. Every text or conversation provided much-needed oxygen, especially when I was gasping for air.

And Bill Scala has been the passion fruit (low on calories, high on nutrients) of my life. He wore almost as many hats as I did and supplied equal parts patience, challenge, competence and good humor throughout. I have been buoyed by each “What if . . . ?” or “How do you . . . ?” conversation we had during the nine years this symphony took to make its debut. Thank you, Bill, for making me a much better conductor.

~ ~ ~

What helpers and encouragers will you be acknowledging this coming Thanksgiving? Who are players and virtuoso soloists in your orchestra? Each name matters. Feel free to share in comments below!

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Front Cover of Assembling a Life by Martha Clark Scala

The Holidays are Coming!

The premium softcover version of my memoir, Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself), would make a great gift for someone special.

OR, if you haven’t purchased it for yourself yet, how about giving yourself the gift of a premium softcover or Apple ebook? You can purchase the book at my website by clicking here.

If you prefer to pay by check, send me an email so we can arrange that for you.


Pictured Above

September Sunrise, Rockport, MA. I am grateful to my grandparents who chose Rockport many years ago as a delightful place to make a second home.


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Prompts For Joy

Click here to see a cat who encouraged some very fortunate ducklings.

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Mark Your Calendars, SF Bay Area Readers!

Found Words, Found Wisdom: How Writing a Memoir Helped Me Discover That Happenstance is More Than Mere Coincidence

I will be the featured speaker at the monthly meeting of California Writers Club – SF/Peninsula Branch on Saturday, January 18, 2020. The meeting is from 10am to Noon. Stay tuned for more information.


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