Today’s post will be short and sweet, partly because I’m juggling a handful of projects (a process that deserves a whole post in its own right) and partly because I’m a little hyped:
For the first time in my nearly 20 years of working on biographies, I am working on a project about a live person.
Waterhouse Hawkins, Walt Whitman, Alice Roosevelt, Mark Twain and Susy Clemens, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were all lively, and I tried to bring them to life on the page, but technically, they are no longer with us.
For the first time, I am working on a book about someone, happily, who is—who very much is.
Writing about someone long gone has its advantages. You can utilize the scholarship of others to help inform your understanding of primary sources. And it’s way easier to determine the lasting significance of someone’s accomplishments when you can see if it actually lasted.
But there is something amazing about thinking, “I wonder how she felt about x?” and then realizing, “Oh! I can just ask!”
I’m feeling a little giddy, like a kid in a pastry shop filling the box with more and more treats. Every day I seem to be emailing a dozen or so questions (though I was kind enough to give her the whole weekend off—both days) and then, in a little bit, getting answers.
Will everything make it into the book? Probably not. But the box is brimming over with treats, and I get to choose the ones I like best.
And then, even better, to ask for more.