Personal: Eighth grade into ninth grade, going from Junior High to High School. A long-awaited, much-needed change of pace, setting, and mood. After nearly fucking up my educational track by getting an F — in English, of all things, thanks to boredom, inattention and distraction — I get my shit together and become a middling student for the rest of my school years. Not nearly as inept socially as I was in junior high; I embrace the fact that I’m a nerd and a weirdo.
Writing: Headlong into the Infamous War Novel project. Still finding my way through it, with multiple false starts, outtakes, and notebooks. Somewhere along the line I come up with the brilliant idea of creating an outline via a set list of music, and it all starts coming together. Eventually I’ll start a draft that will take me about two years to finish, in between music listening, homework and social life. A few unrelated snippets written at this time that don’t really go anywhere.
Music: Listening to a lot of Top 40 countdowns on the weekends while listening to rock radio during the week. Music collection still small but expanding thanks to used record stores and trips to the mall. Creating mixtapes from stuff off the radio in high gear now. I start cataloging these mixtapes on a steno pad. [Decades later I use this same list to recreate the mixtapes on mp3.] Probably one of my favorite eras of pop music in the 80s…a lot of really great stuff came out between 1985 and 1986.