the first legit biographer to ever read jackie was a pulitzer prize winner with whom my only in-person interaction had been the observation that there should be more stalls in the women’s restroom at the national press club.
because, during a panel, she had expressed liberal views about what constitutes a biographical liberty, i shipped eight questionable pages of jackie off to her to see if, in her estimation, i had sinned.
it’s hard to summon momentum. to keep up your energy over the long haul. because this- writing, biography, life- is a mighty long haul. what you need is some galvanizing force that- even if it leads nowhere, even if it’s fleeting at best- gets you going. it gets words on the page.
the pulitzer prize winner wrote back. her email opened with this line: “well, i must say i enjoyed that…”
as though she hadn’t expected to. as though she were genuinely surprised.
i’m tempted to print out this email and frame it as a reminder. because this is the response i’m writing for, this is the response jackie should get.
you think you know her story. you don’t. i’m going to tell it, though i do not yet know how.
(photo by milton greene)