I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter.
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter.
— Don Henley, “The Heart of the Matter”
On Facebook today, someone asked me what the origin of the title of my upcoming book, Long-Distance Dedications, was. It sounded, at first, like a simple question to answer. But it’s not. Not really, anyway.
As Dave Riggler says in the introduction to the book (which you can find on the front page of this site), all of the stories are about, and for, the people in his life. But they’re not all the people in his life. These are stories about the people you lose track of, for one reason or another. As you start to get older, people leave school and go on about their lives — work, marriages, kids, and all the other things that make up a person’s daily day-to-day regimens. And of course, sometimes things don’t work out, and people go their separate ways. There are stories like that in the book, too. These are stories about the people who are not with you as much as you’d like, if they’re even there at all.
I want to say a few words about “For” vs. “To”. You’ll see that some of the stories are “For” dedications (e.g., “For Lisa”) and some are “To” dedications (e.g., “To Cari”). These are very different kinds of stories. “For” stories are the equivalent of memorials. The person isn’t “gone” as in deceased, but gone from Dave’s life. They exist somewhere (as far as Dave would know), and if they find the story somewhere, well, good. “To” stories are very different. “To” stories are like gifts or letters. They’re dedications to the person they’re written about. These are people still in Dave’s life, although not as much or as often as he might prefer.
(And now that I say that, I have to go back and make sure all of my “To”‘s and “For”‘s are in order… :))
At any rate, that’s what the genesis of the title was. It’s Dave reaching out to the people who mean something to him.
And now you know.