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June 5, 2014
Posted at 8:02 am

That was the name of my high school yearbook back in 19xx. A long time ago. It might be the best title for a book of memories I've ever seen. A lot of what I write about in "Living Next Door to Heaven" is a fantasy based on a tiny memory.

I finished Part III last night and sent Chapter 65 off to my editor/proofreader, Old Rotorhead. It's great to have him to bounce ideas off of and to correct my verb tenses and homophones. But whenever I finish a Part--and I've done that three times now--it sends me into a world of reflection. It happened that this time, that reflection was caught on the pages of Bittersweet.

Remember the first scene at Crystal Lake? The one where Brian got a little carried away playing with Joanne? It started from a vague old memory that was just at the fringe of my consciousness when the real life trigger for that scene was found. It's a scrawl on the inside of the back cover of that yearbook.

"Lots of luck to a one-time neighbor. Always remember the goofy times we've had (like at Crystal Lake). ... Think about me once in a while slaving away down at Purdue. Best wishes and may God bless you, Joanne."

Yes. Even though Joanne and I were never best friends and didn't actually live next door and she wasn't a model and we probably only said a few hundred words to each other the whole time we were growing up, that one event and those words in the back of my yearbook inspired this whole story in a way. She was a graduating senior and I had just finished my freshman year and was moving away when she wrote that. That she would remember the "goofy" way we played at the lake three years earlier when she was a freshman and I was going into seventh grade--remember how we took a few liberties exploring what the secrets of being a boy and a girl were--still amazes me.

Bittersweet memories, but the spark for over 350,000 words in this story so far. Wow!