Missed you! Did you enjoy your holidays?
I am overwhelmed and astonished and excited right now. There is, simply, too much to figure out. You know, I’ve always done this. Back in ’96, I knew I didn’t understood how water moved physically, and I applied to a water engineering program. After that, I thought I was pretty weak on policy, and trotted off to learn more about that. I knew no law at all, so I did that next. It holds true, so far, that I gravitate unerringly toward whatever I am weakest at. Friends, I know nothing about journalism. How on earth am I going to tell the story of the Los Osos sewers?
This morning I met up with the second person who has been willing to give her time and thought to a stranger. She talked to me for three hours straight; told me a long story and her opinions and recommendations. There are a million threads in there, which do I follow? I picked one of them because it was close, and went over to the people who’ve filmed all the Los Osos CSD meetings. When I walked in and asked for copies of old meetings, the videographer looked up and said “You’re the one.” I couldn’t imagine that she’s heard about my project yet, and asked what she meant. She said she’s been waiting for years for someone to walk in to her office to write the book about Los Osos. From the little I’ve heard so far, the story is even more ornate than I’d read in the papers. The idea of untangling it all is daunting.
I’ve learned new things before, and I remember that it is bewildering for a while, until slowly you realize that you’ve heard that before. After that, there’s a point where most everything is a version of something you’ve heard before. It is going to be a good while before I’m at that point with this process. I’m excited for it though, and I enjoy this hard learning curve right now. That feeling, of doing something hard and new, is a good one.
(If you do know something about writing big stories, please feel free to leave suggestions or recommendations.)