I love how this is coming together. I feel sort of bad giving someone an afghan that is more art that blanket. She can never put this in the dryer. It’s not particularly soft. But it’s so beautiful. I think it’s worth it.

I finished a draft of my manuscript yesterday. I need to have something to send to the editor so he can see what I’m up to and this is it. Or will be after I let it rest a little and look through it.

But I also heard from the National Archives and they have the Hattie Cotton file–200 pages–which they will send me. And the J.B. Stoner file, which needs to be read through by their legal team, but that can be done.

The whole Stoner file is 2,000 pages. Obviously, I’m not doing that. But Jesus Christ, how do you end up with a 2,000 page FBI file and one conviction? Like, what then was the purpose of keeping a file on you?

I just want his early years, and that also seems like a much more manageable two or three hundred pages. The archivist who is helping me even found that a bunch of Stoner’s ’58 file was in another spot, and made sure I would know to ask for it.

I suspect that’s either his Confederate Underground activity or his run-in with Bull Connor. In other words, the stuff they did actively try to get him for.

It’s really weird compared to fiction–the process of writing this. When I write fiction, I agonize over everything and am convinced I suck as a writer. Rereading this, I’m like, oh, hey, this is really good. This is really engaging. This is really funny. Like, I’m finding the writing part really easy (knock on wood).

The parts I’m struggling with are bigger-picture things: Should I interview so-and-so? Is there another investigative avenue I should be pursuing? Is there something I’m missing?

It’s a really nice change of pace. Also, those questions aren’t killing me. They just seem like stuff worth mulling over.

Am I…am I enjoying this?