Few of life's successes are accomplished in isolation. No matter how personal a claim we may lay upon our work, the truth is that intricate webs of connection lie behind what appears to be a unified whole. Our social relationships extending back through childhood to infancy, our experiences both planned and random, the effects of what we have read and seen, the encouragement of a teacher, the support of a friend, the love of family all contribute to the character and accomplishment of the person we come to regard as "self."

Many experiences and many people lie behind the accomplishment of this manuscript. Most notably, and most obviously, my teaching and writing collaborator, Bob King. Three chapters of this work were in fact co-authored with Bob. Without our working relationship and friendship, the ideas would not have flouished, the class would not have come into being, the manuscript would not have been written. Although many voices are represented in this work, their contributions were also made possible by conversational openings prompted by what was at first only "casual talk" and "professional musing" between Bob and myself. Thus, without Bob, there would have been no "point of departure" from which the conversation could take off.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Hephzibah Roskelly. The direct contribution she made to my intellectual growth cannot be minimized. A friend and a mentor as well as a teacher, Hepsie listened to my ideas with an open mind, encouraged me during difficult times, and inspired me by her example to be likewise open-minded, encouraging, and a caring teacher to others.

Dr. Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater, Dr. Robert Langenfeld, and Dr. Mary Ellis Gibson also played significant roles in the professional and scholarly growth that led to the writing of this work. Elizabeth I thank for her patience and generosity of time. I could always count on her as a good conversationalist from whom I could glean many ideas. Bob Langenfeld I thank for his consistent encouragement and expert editing skills. Mary Ellis I thank for the excellent reading she did of this manuscript, her thoughtful and thought-provoking feedback. All of them I thank for their willingness to let me challenge traditional academic writing styles. Without their willingness genuinely to entertain such a challenge, this work would never have come into being.

I would also like to acknowledge the contributions made by Eric Crump and my other friends and colleagues on Rhetnet. The conversation in this virtual community which continues to weave itself still sustains my personal and intellectual development.

My deepest gratitude, however, I extend to my life partner, Frank: my best friend, best mentor, best conversational partner, and most unwavering supporter. Without his company, my journey through life would have been much impoverished.

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since 06 September 1996