When learning is vital, when teachers and learners create knowledge together, it exceeds craft and becomes a dimension in which people live and breathe as one. I want to gratefully acknowledge the colleagues, the learners, and the friends with whom I’ve had this experience. It has been life giving.
There is at least a touch of fanaticism and narcissism in writing a memoir. It involves taking your ideas seriously, using events from your own life to disclose them, and often years to write about them with emotions bordering on clinical anxiety. Friends showing serious interest in such a project gave me the confidence to consider making the idea of this memoir a reality. David Oliensis, Paul Krajniak, David Gardner, and Matthew Ginsberg-Jaeckle were among the first. It was a beginning I will always appreciate.
Once I believed there was merit in the conception of this book, I had to learn how to write a memoir. A result of more chance than wisdom, I went to StoryStudio and found an exceptional teacher, Nadine Kenney Johnstone, a memoirist and the author of Of This Much I’m Sure: A Memoir, her inspirational account of the risks she faced and overcame during in vitro fertilization. Thank you for your committed and vital mentoring and for being an example of what it is to be a writer.
I had consummate good fortune: finding a writing group with imagination, skill, honesty, and deep and sensitive caring. Every person a gift—Rob Constantine, Janie Gabbett, Julie Lambert, and Paula Mikrut. We assembled ourselves from Nadine’s writing course and three years later we’re still together. The insights, transitions, selections of characters and anecdotes, cohesion, humor, and genuineness of this book are significantly due to the in-depth feedback and commentary of these friends. I will always be grateful.
Then there’s staying alive. Here I am due to Dr. Dennis Pessis discovering my cancer and Dr. Tim Kuzel keeping me going. My life has been tenderly and joyfully enriched by my wellness group at Gilda’s Club in Chicago, and our fearless leader, Janet Aminoff. For the many friends and family whose prayers and fond wishes grace my life daily, thank you from my heart.
I want to extend my gratitude to John Bennett, acquisition editor at Brill Sense for his faith in this book and his calm guidance in its construction, to Mary Leonard for copyediting it with a light touch, and to Paula Mikrut for my rescue—her management of the layout and proofreading of the final manuscript in the last two weeks before it was due.
To be at peace while writing is an immeasurable bounty. For this serenity, I honor the love of my family, Margery, Matthew and Dan.