Judson Merrill Drafts an Acknowledgments Page

My literary career is young but it’s never too early to begin monogramming the hand towels of posterity. For the benefit of scholars and fans alike, I will use this space on The Outlet, on a semi-regular basis, to release a selection of my correspondence and other papers. Enjoy. (Universities interested in acquiring the complete Judson Merrill archive should contact me through my web site.)

While I, of course, deserve the lion’s share of the credit for this novel, many people helped bring it to life. Though many have modestly asked not to be named in connection with this book, I would be remiss not to thank them.

The book’s main idea was born two years ago when I was arrested and processed by a beautiful policewoman. We had a decided chemistry and though, annoyingly, my wife posted bond before I could get her badge number, A Night in Cell Block Love is probably what would have happened between us given more time. My very heartfelt thanks to that law enforcement officer for her inspiration.

Dozens of trusted friends, colleagues, and street people read or listened to me read early versions of the book. Herman Longe, Gregg Otell, Cookie, and Greta Klein all gave invaluable feedback and pushed me to make the book “less creepily autobiographical.”

Don Pointer, Eggmoney Van Peebles, and Petra Small also read early drafts, but their comments were neither helpful nor constructive. I would not want to accidentally give — and I’m sure they would not want to inadvertently receive — thanks they neither earned nor deserved. It would cheapen it for my other readers who will, no doubt, thrill to find their names in these pages.

I’m particularly grateful to Dr. Snyder Hoop who took me in hand and taught me as much as he could about telekinesis and extrasensory lovemaking. Although he jokes that Cell Block Love is still “riddled with errors, inconsistency, and a stiff, unlikable prose” his insight is responsible for everything I got right in book. (I’m legally obligated to add that any errors are entirely my own.)

No thanks are due to Nicholas Sparks, who I believe broke into my home and stole the original idea I had for this book. It is not a mistake that the man keeps churning out gems. He is an active and able intellectual property thief.

My efforts would have been for naught without my agent, Kevin Planck. When no one else believed in me, Kevin was related to me by marriage and sort of had to take me on as a client. Nevertheless, from day one he’s been a tireless advocate and a firm believer that a so-called “vanity press” was the best place for me and my work. He knew before I was even done with Cell Block Love that it would be too challenging and genre-redefining for the dinosaurs in traditional publishing.

My eternal gratitude goes out to my editor at CopyEditors4less.co.au.

Donotreply@copyeditors4less.co.au’s insight and support was crucial to the book’s final revisions. He was totally right about the predicative case and that weird thing I was doing with semi-colons. Thanks to Donotreply, that’s one error that won’t be passed on to the generations of school children to whom I assume this book will one day be assigned.

For this new paperback edition, let me also add my thanks to the many kind reviewers on Amazon.com who gave the hardcover version of the book four or five stars. Without those independent-minded souls, the online community of trolls, grudge-holders, and malefactors would have won and Cell Block Love would have a rating in the low two stars. Amazon’s recent findings that the positive notices all came from one IP address out of my sister’s house cannot tarnish those glowing reviews.

And, finally, thanks to my wife, who kicked me out of the house just as the idea for this book was germinating. While her actions may have been selfish and, according to Cookie, “heartless,” from that adversity I gained a deeper understanding of the human condition, as well as critical insights into how to do one’s own laundry, which was a huge help when writing the chapter in which Officer Esmerelda Greene washes her underwear in a men’s room sink.

* * *

The full Judson Merrill archives can be found here.

–Judson Merrill lives and writes in Brooklyn. Some of his work, including his e-novella The Pool, can be found at judsonmerrill.com.

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