I began toying with the idea of this book when I was 19, in 1989. I only know that because I recently found a scrap of paper in my notebook from that age. It was to be some great analogy of life, or something. I was young, and didn't have the full idea yet.
Time passed, and so did the idea. By the time I had context to what I wanted to say, I was stuck in the middle of a bad marriage. My first wife, I married when I was 23, and I was far too young for that. It did not work out well. I had written most of another novel by then, and when I moved out, I stumbled over my notes for this book, previously known as Apple Jack. Time has taken its toll on my free time. I should have stayed in college and got that diploma, but work and supporting kids always took my priority in other directions. Stay in school, kids. It's worth it, and never easy to have to go back when you're past your prime. Get your education. It's the most important thing you'll ever do.
Jack has been in my head for decades now. In 2006, I got sick, and I wasn't sure if I'd make it out alive. When I did, I sat down to write this story. I felt like I just had to finish it. But, sadly, it was still a low priority. Obligations, distractions, and exhaustion all played parts in the delay.
Writing this post has an odd feeling to it, mostly because I know that most of you have never read any part of the novel. Some of you have read much of it. For a while several chapters claimed a decent following online on an old website called stories-by-email.com. It no longer exists, but from there, I realized I gained just under 400 new visitors per month on that story.
Thank you for all the encouragement, people. Thank you, Deirdre, Gabe, Rod, Joe, and yes, of course, Mom. Thank you for cheering me on to the finish line. And last but not least, thank you, Nerissa. If you had not prodded my dear wife about it, years ago, before I knew you, I might have just let it go.
More to follow.