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About John Palmerlee

October 28, 1955


I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, but spent most of my life in California. My mother's parents owned a ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Oroville, CA. We spent summers and holidays at the ranch, playing outdoors in the daylight, then blanketed by family history held in the furnishings, structure and smells of the ranch house after sunset. My parents ran Far View Ranch Camp (a children's residence camp) at the ranch for 29 summers, and I was there for most of them. In the last few years of their camp, I developed a close friendship with another camp counselor, Robin Setchko, and we started down the relationship path that finds us still in love today.

Relationship has been a great teacher. I'm grateful to Robin for sticking with me through the hard times — mostly communication challenges. I know now that as a human being I default to the frightened animal when threatened. Early on, I thought every argument came from some truth that had to be placed on the table. In recent years I began to understand how partnership benefits from taking responsibility for my own experience, and admitting that my primary interest is simply to be loved.

Robin and I ran the camp for a while after my parents retired, and that experience was also a great teacher: taking responsibility for numerous loved ones; learning to set firm limits with children and young adults from a place of kindness; leading others toward meaningful goals; living with my own limitations while stretching capabilities I'd never known. I recall my state of mind on the first day of our first summer session, worried sick (literally) about my ability to take on such tasks.

Our decision to marry and have children came several years later. We were cautious, and wanted the glue to stick. Ellen and Michael were born into the camp atmosphere. Michael was younger, and his first summer at camp happened to be our last. The novel Sky was born the summer after Ellen, and until this day has grown, bit by bit, to the point of publication.

While living in Eugene, my first real job at a pizza parlor gave me cash for flying lessons. Breaking free from the surface is a wonderful but small taste of what astronauts feel, and I dreamed of flying to the moon and beyond. My closest approach to space travel came through reading science fiction, but I kept flying, finally owning an airplane afforded by a small inheritance.

I attended a few different colleges before finally settling down on Physics at Sonoma State University. One of my professors became my employer after graduation, and from an acoustics perspective, I dabbled in electronics and computer science. When we stopped running the summer camp, the internet was becoming a major event, and I headed in that direction, programming for three small companies until burning out not too long ago. By that time, Sky had finished emerging, and had experienced several revisions.

Soon after solar panel costs dropped, the time was right for installing a home system. Ellen and I got the electric car bug and did a complete conversion of a small pickup in her high school senior year. That experience was like taking the "red pill" (Matrix), and I can't and won't go back!

I currently work at Thunderstruck Motors supporting DIY electric vehicles of all types, directing creative energy toward meaningful goals with people I enjoy.

I'm now in my sixties, feeling mortal yet grateful, and open to the next steps. Sharing Sky with a greater audience is one of them. My publishing collaborator Kim Stufflebeam created this website, and we hand-created two final copies of Sky for release to early readers. Before passing away this summer, Kim and I made plans for a serial chapter releases of the novel on this website, which I have started. The project continues to be vitalized with Kim's enduring passion and love of the creative process.

- updated August, 2019