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For anyone that has ever taken the time to read all the
way to the back page of one of my books (stand up,
Mom and Dad) you know that you have to nearly die
to be listed at the top of the acknowledgments. Hey, it is
a crowded field, and something has to single the chosen
ones out. Honestly, I am starting to think that if I stop
writing books, people in my life will stop needing to be
in this section. A good chunk of this tome was written
via my expert two-finger typing system in a hospital
intensive care unit waiting room. For my liking, far too
much of it was. Amazingly, following heart surgery that
did not go well, my stepfather scared all of us for a few
weeks and then started the steady climb to recovery,
and now he is as well as he was before the surgery,
which is a miracle in and of itself.
Soon after the end of that hospital stay, hoping to jettison
“intensive care” from my vocabulary for as long as I could,
I received a jarring phone call that one of my very best
friends was being monitored in emergency care in Pittsburgh,
having just suffered a stroke. Rich Westbrook is not just
my college and postcollege roommate; partner in hijinks
and shenanigans; the person who gave me my first real
design job and helped me on the road to growing up;
and one of the sweetest people you will ever meet—he
is the embodiment of all that is right in the world to me.
When I think of what a truly “good” person is, I think
of Rich. I couldn’t love that guy any more than I do, and
I couldn’t fathom anything bad ever happening to him.
It seemed like a supreme injustice that he should ever
know any pain or face his own mortality. I have never
felt a weight lifted quite like the one that passed when
I finally spoke to him in the hospital, falling back into our
old banter and inside jokes. Most of the effects have faded
away, though his vision might still be a little wacky in one
eye. Perhaps it will help his designs. As I am typing this,
he is off to a father/daughter dance, and I am tearing
up like a big sissy. Thank God he is around to tease me
about it when he reads this.
Nearly every word I have ever written on design that
was worth reading would not have been possible without
the vision and dedication of the wonderful folks at Rockport.
They deserve far more than a kind word here, so be
forewarned that you all have a ridiculously sloppy kiss
awaiting you. Winnie Prentiss and her leadership; Emily
Potts and her ability to make me laugh, blush, contemplate
my morals and values, smile nonstop, and somehow
work harder each day; Regina Grenier for her kindness
and joy in swapping dog tales and high fives and for
occasionally standing up for me, even if I didn’t know
that I needed her to; David Martinell, who always makes
me smile with his unflappable nature; Betsy Gammons
and her wisecracks and whip cracks; Cora Hawks
for doing so much behind the scenes, and so many
others—I adore you all.
Thanks to my enormous and ever-growing family,
especially my wife, Suzanne, and amazing daughter, Lily!
Love those girls to bits. To both sets of my parents, all
of my brothers and sisters (nine of us blended altogether,
the last time that I counted), James Nicholls, who is the
one person I talk to every day, Clive Solomon, Michael
Loveless, Daniel Early, Alex Hornsby, Lucy Hurst, Eva
O’Reilly, Mark Harwood, and all at Fire Records. My old
friends Bill Vierbuchen, Dave Bradbury, Chad Lafley,
and many more I am forgetting. Svetlana Legetic, Cale
Charney, and everyone at BYT. And last, but certainly
not least, all of the girls (almost women!) that I coach
on my soccer team that teach me way more than I could
ever give back to them every season.
You know it is impossible to make a book like this without
a cadre of talented designers and artists to draw on—so
a big thank-you and too-tight hugs to everyone included
in this collection. You are an inspiration.
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