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Altman, N. Davies, J.M. (2002). Introduction: Voices. Psychoanal. Dial., 12(4):505-508.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(4):505-508

Introduction: Voices

Neil Altman, Ph.D. and Jody Messler Davies, Ph.D.

On December 21, 2000, the Evening of Stephen Mitchell's death, the editors and associate editors of Psychoanalytic Dialogues gathered together to attempt, as a group, the long and arduous process of making some sense out of what had just happened to our very dear friend. Mostly we cried. Somewhere in the course of the evening an obituary got written. Eventually the conversation turned to Psychoanalytic Dialogues and to the inevitable question of how the journal, which Steve had so lovingly and devotedly borne and nourished, could both capture the enormity of his contribution and adequately memorialize his passing. Steve would be impatient and bored with laudatory and idealizing tributes, we all agreed. As the conversation deepened we reflected on how our evening together had been punctuated by recollections in which each of us spoke of how Steve had encouraged our first efforts at writing; how we had all turned to him when our creativity stalled, when our ideas collided, when our self-confidence flagged. We marveled that most of us had been so new to the writing process when we first met Steve. And we all wondered what our future writing would be like without Steve's encouragement, suggestions, and boundless enthusiasm.

It was from the dark and grieving heart of that evening that the idea for this memorial issue was born. What better way to keep Steve's presence and spirit alive than to use an issue of Psychoanalytic Dialogues to do for others what he had done for all of us, to devote an entire issue to the discovery and publication of “new voices.” As we pondered Steve's own pleasure at such an idea, we discovered that most of us were smiling even as we cried, and we knew that, somehow, this idea was the right one. Over the next six months we received an unprecedented number of contributions from “new authors,” colleagues who had never before given voice to their own ideas in written papers.

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