There is a worldwide movement going on as I write these words. It's a movement that has its roots in many places and in millions of people's lives. We saw it in massive, worldwide demonstrations against the war in Iraq, in the election of Lula da Silva in Brazil and the new power sharing that is occurring in that country via participative budgets. We see it in "Earth Day" and other new ways of celebrating our shared existence.

We sustain each other in this grand conversation for a better world. Some of the sustaining people in my life have been my wife Patty Steenberg who introduced me to complexity science, the concept of the fat tail rate of change and encouraged me to think of politics and societal change in the context of these new scientific paradigms instead of the old right-wing-left-wing political models. Murray MacGregor introduced me to the global conversation via the Internet, read and critiqued drafts. In my office at City Hall without the help of Stuart Lister, Donna Silver, Pierre Johnson, Tara Pear-man, Sarah Lindsay and Cyndi Box I could not have done Hay West, the Connecting Community studies and the Ottawa Participative Budgets.

Rejections are often an author's best friend and they have been for me. I am very appreciative of publishers who took the time to critique earlier versions of this book. Ronsdale Press was kind enough to send me several thoughtful readers' reports; Doug Gibson suggested cutting a great deal which I did, and Jan Walters made me think harder about point ofview; and Ramsay Derry who edited my first book and became a life long literary mentor.

Thanks to Val Ross and Patrick Martin at the Globe and Mail who published excerpts in their newspaper; to Elizabeth May, Jane Jacobs and John Ralston Saul who read early versions and encouraged me. Last but not least, I thank the people of Capital Ward who took the chance on electing a poet.

And most of all, I thank my publishers at New Society who met with me, talked with me and were able to see the connections between the poet and the politician. I had the sense from our first conversations that my manuscript had found a fine home.

All writing is vanity, and the vainest is autobiographical. A political life is also a tangle of conceits, ambitions and ideals, but as I wrote this book, I could not see how to untangle my own life's experiences from the more general experiences of politics and society. They were all mixed up. The personal gave meaning and emotion to the political, and the political gave the essential context of society to my individual experiences. Chris and Judith Plant of New Society had reservations about trying to mix a life lived with general conclusions about how society worked, but decided I was worth the risk and assigned Betsy Nuse to shepherd the words from manuscript to book. To all I am very grateful.

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