AAUGH! (with apologies to Charles Schulz)

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Friends, some days here in Emmett Wilson Research Land, I feel like I am just spinning my wheels, not getting anything done. Just plodding along.

It’s frustrating the hell out of me today.

Let me ventilate for a sec.

It has been a dry data run for the past three weeks. Not much new information; in fact, very little detail about Emmett despite the fact I’ve been poring through the 1915 newspaper film every day.

Emmett almost died in December, 1914.

Emmett almost died in December, 1914.

But, based on what I know from other contemporary sources, Emmett was very likely holed up somewhere in Pensacola during this time, staying out of the public eye, probably still in some form of recovery. After all, he almost died a few months back, and he never completely recovered.

Also, Congress is out of session, even though WWI is rumbling and the Germans are still sinking American ships here and there. I think Emmett’s laying low until Woodrow Wilson calls Congress back in session in late Fall, 1915.

The other thing is I have had two friends, TWO, finish book manuscripts. Not to name drop, but one of them is someone I consider a very good friend Sarah Pekkanen, whose kids have gone to school with mine for many years. She’s a wonderful, down-to-Earth person, people.

Sarah Pekkanen, New York Times bestselling author, and, I'm humbled to say, my friend.

Sarah Pekkanen, New York Times bestselling author, and, I’m humbled to say, my friend.

For instance, when my twins were born seven weeks early (and had to stay at the Georgetown NICU for six weeks), I was out of my mind with lack of sleep and worry — we almost lost one of the twins.  During that time, Sarah showed up at my house, completely unexpected, with groceries because she knew I was not even functioning. And that is typical Sarah.

Sarah is, like, working on her fifth book. (Her fourth and current one, Catching Air, is wonderful — and I’m not just sitting here plugging her shamelessly; she really is a talented writer.) I would love to have even a microscopic bit of her talent and energy.

Another neighbor, likewise a kind, lovely woman who has been a great friend to me for the past 10 years, has finished her first book and is working with a publisher. I’m so proud of her!

Ironically, this neighbor also has a connection to my twins: When I went into labor, she literally ran across the street to my house to help me get to the hospital. She took my oldest child and kept her overnight while I was gone.

I admire my friends so much! But I also have to admit that I envy the fact that they have completed manuscripts in hand — and meanwhile, I’m pretty much still plodding along in the data gathering. I want to have Emmett’s book done too!

To quote one of my favorite everyday philosophers, Charlie Brown: Aaugh!

Yes, Lucy represents the elusive data on Emmett that I still must uncover in the research process.

Lucy represents the elusive data on Emmett that I still must uncover in the research process.

But, that said, I KNOW my friends. They worked very hard at their respective books; they did not just simply “crank out a novel” in a week or two. Writing is a p-r-o-c-e-s-s.  Getting a manuscript to that publishable stage is along the lines of long, drawn-out, childbirth-like effort.

Also, I do know that your first manuscript is not what winds up on bookstore shelves. The finished, published product can take at least another year, with copy editing and other publication production issues involved.

Finally, both of my author-friends were not also writing biographies of obscure political figures (as I am). My research strategy was — and is — a lot different than theirs. I have to do History Detective-type digs in dusty archives regularly; they didn’t, at least, not to the degree that I think they did. 🙂

In a nutshell: Different genre, different writing and research strategy.

OK. I feel better now.

For all that working on Emmett’s biography can get frustrating, I actually love what I’m doing. Emmett’s story will get written, when it is ready to be written, not before.

And now, back to the microfilm of 1915.

 

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