Acknowledgements: A Big Old Garden

If I could change only one thing about this whole wonderful process, I would go back and add the following acknowledgements to the back pages of A Year in the Big Old Garden. But in the spirit of, "Better late than never:"

First I want to thank my parents, Gary and Jamie Witmer; not only because they were Kickstarter Patron backers, but because the seeds of the Big Old Garden were planted when I was a highly-distractible, “supervision required” homeschool student, and they gifted me a love for nature and for good stories.

My wife Julie and our children Grace, Anna, and Logan gave me reason to tell these stories in the first place, and a beautiful garden as a source of ideas. They also poured immeasurable energy into the practical matters of making the stories into a book. When my faith in this project was brittle, they kept me from splintering.

S. D. Smith was the first person outside my immediate family to read the Big Old Garden stories and announce that I was onto something good. It was he who first proposed a book-length collection, and then periodically repeated himself until I’d finally done something about it.

Glenn McCarty and Helena Sorenson are two of the best writers I know, and they generously acted as my editors: weeding, hoeing, and transplanting words until the lines were a joy to read aloud.

Melissa Fink painted not one but four pieces of art for the book cover, and she somehow captured the genius loci of a garden that, being an amalgamation of places I have loved, existed only in my head.

Joe Sutphin also worked magic with his art, rendering the forms and the personalities of my characters with an accuracy and charm I wouldn’t have thought possible from still images.

Angela Kochis did the first round of proofreading with a thoroughness and attention to detail that transcended correct punctuation, and left nothing for subsequent proofreaders to do.

Katherine Lloyd took a manuscript and a pile of art and turned them into a book. If that’s not the best kind of alchemy, I don’t know what is.

Andrew Mackay gave generously from his hard-earned store of wisdom and knowledge about the book-making process, including my introduction to Katherine. His experience eased our way.

The host of allies collected under the banner of gave precious encouragement, and shared this project into corners of the world we could never have reached alone.

The congregation at St. Peter’s Anglican gave us prayers, material support, and shared with genuine delight our joy at seeing this project come into being.

The Kickstarter backers provided something no author or publisher can simply buy--an audience of readers. Given the hundreds of thousands of books in the world (and even just on Amazon!), each pledge was a resounding act of kindness and hospitality.

Publishing A Year in the Big Old Garden would not have been possible without each of these people. To every one, and to the Maker of all good things, I give grateful thanks.