page one

a friend said it has been hard to keep up with what i’m doing and asked what, precisely, i am working on now.

which is funny because i have no idea.

i went to washington to network with other people who love dead people and determined to sell myself as a biographical editor/researcher/assistant/anything for the very practical reason that if i’m going to keep doing this beyond august, then i’m in dire need of another revenue stream.

that was the plan. i was going to focus on getting money and worry about jackie when i got home.

when i saw her at breakfast, stacy schiff (of whose memory i am now in awe) asked, is it still all jackie all the time? and i shrugged my shoulders and said, eh, because it really wasn’t.

but then people asked who my subject was and when i said jackie they kind of rolled their eyes and started to walk away and there was nothing to do but put on my full jackie: the tabloid years regalia and stop them and say, wait. you really don’t even know.

and their eyes would widen and, by conversation’s end, i’d have them nodding away and riddled with envy over the awesomeness of my research materials.

i went to washington to make money and returned ready to ready to kill the first 150 pages of the book i wrote five years ago and begin at the beginning. with that paragraph i put down on paper in january 2004 for the first assignment in tracey weiner’s “writing biography” class.

at the time, i thought it was the first paragraph of the twelfth chapter of a book i’d not yet written, but i was wrong. it’s page one.

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