In an article titled, Against Acknowledgements, Sam Sacks critiques and disavows acknowledgements in novels and nonfiction alike, citing the solidarity in which writing transpires.
The problem with this view is that it breeds solipsism (or, self-mindedness, a philosophy that is equal parts arrogant and foolish). While I’m all for questioning conventional wisdom, I believe we are nothing without those who have surrounded us all our lives.
We cannot create in a vacuum. Even Thoreau at Walden Pond had his neighbors for inspiration- squirrels and birds, townsfolk and huntsmen.
Through a myriad of influences, we create work from and for the people who have created us. They may not have directly influenced our work in process, but they certainly influenced our thinking.
In big and small ways, our language, memories, and ideas all stem from others. Only with people are we able to write characters that reflect, places that repurpose our memories, and concepts heard in passing and staying.
Acknowledgement is proof of effort.
The intersection of learned artifacts make up our work. We have done the hard work of not looking merely inward, but seeing outward for the truth fused into the hands and eyes of people.
And so, we thank them.