This book originated out of my desire to avoid wasting too much time teaching grammar and writing in my literature classes at George Mason University. Eager to spend more time with Jonathan Edwards and Ken Kesey and less with punctuation, I began to place short jeremiads on reserve in the library. When I discovered that students were xeroxing (yes, "xeroxing," so sue me) these papers at a dime a page, I decided to print my own copies of the entire collection and sell them in the campus bookstore to make a buck. That booklet, Making It or Faking It, (now a collector's item) became a word-of-mouth success, used even in composition courses, and I was persuaded to expand the text and to try for a larger market.
What followed was a self-published version then titled Sin Boldly!, priced at a provocative $6.66, a personal triumph but a marketing disaster. Bookstore chains will not even look at self- published books, nor will the media review them. Luckily, Perseus Publishing, with access to the corridors of capitalism, had the wisdom to pick up the copyright and publish the edition you now hold in your hands.
I therefore owe my students at George Mason the most. Their horrendous mistakes were my inspiration. Several friends and colleagues also helped to get me organized and to keep me working. Suzanne Melancon was the first professional writer to take my project seriously. Kathy Mitchell was the second. Roger Lathbury and Joyce Greening also contributed significant