Commentary 18: 18 And Life

This chapter doesn’t have a whole lot of fun facts compared to the others. It mainly serves as a catch-up on what’s changed in the new present and bridges us to the beginning of the resolution. The silver lining of a new, time travel free life is the return of the cute little redheaded girl in a starring role…for now.

Other tidbits:

  • Another winner of a chapter title, playing nicely with “I might be stuck here forever.”
  • We learn the repercussions of the pilfered Billy Joel song. Unbeknownst to the narrator despite his musical expertise, Billy Joel almost hung it up after Cold Spring Harbor. It was a live rendition of “Captain Jack” that propelled him to a new record and subsequent superstardom.
  • This chapter contains the most blatant, easy as pie easter egg of all. Need help? The lack of a 555 should tell you something…
  • The questionnaire was inspired by the memory test given to airforce test pilots in the very first episode of Quantum Leap, and includes some of the same questions.
  • The breakup scene was especially fun to write and is one of my favorite scenes in the book. I still get a kick out of the Beatles lyric it contains every time I read it. A lot of the lyrical allusions were added after the fact when I’d hear a line out of context and mentally tie it to an existing scene in the book, after which I’d find a place to massage it in. I heard the Black Keys cover of She Said, She Said one day and immediately knew exactly where it belonged.
  • I really wanted to end this chapter with a song lyric once the narrator left the room and was out of earshot, but I could not find one that fit. Toyed with “we’ll meet again some day on the avenue,” but that was already half-used elsewhere. So instead he precedes his exit with a snippet of Bob Mould’s “Can’t Fight It” from No Alternative and it goes right over the head of his ex.
  • There are 32 known musical references in this chapter.

Read Chapter Eighteen Online

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