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research

March 17, 2009

What’s the name for the psychological disorder in which a writer’s irrepressible obsession with research drives her utterly bugshit?

The research has taken over my office. Last night, my husband came home from work and found his wife sitting in her ergonomically correct leather desk chair, her face completely obscured by piles of paperwork, and he said, “I want a divorce.”

Okay, no, he didn’t say that, but I’ve known him long enough to intuit his thoughts.

What he did say was: “Sam, isn’t this the AGE OF TECHNOLOGY? Why do you need to print everything out? Why do you need TWO COPIES of everything? And why can’t you just apply Google judiciously like the rest of humankind?”

Oh, poor hubby. He just doesn’t understand. I will MAKE him understand.

So I took him through the piles. This little piggy went to the District Attorney’s office and interviewed two ADAs about prosecution. This little piggy spent three weeks harassing the local Sheriff’s department to wrangle an interview with a non-committal (at best) detective.

And this little piggy? She sat in the downtown law library for nine hours straight, reading books she didn’t understand.

You get the picture. He didn’t.

Hubby was all, “Sam, you know that box sitting on your desk? Yeah, it’s the computer. You can find ANYTHING in there if you look hard enough, and then you can store the information you find ELECTRONICALLY. So your research doesn’t TAKE OVER OUR HOUSE.”

And I was like, “Honey, you just don’t get it, and it’s okay. I love you anyway.”

As usual, I won the battle, but the war goes to my husband. When he left for work this morning, he put on his kindest, sweetest face, and said, “Could you PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE have some of this organized when I get home? So that when I sit down to check CNN, I don’t drown in white copy paper?”

I’m going through research, not because he told me I had to, but because it really does make sense. I’ve reached a critical part of my manuscript that requires facts—facts that I’ve managed to collect, but will now have to unearth from the piles and stacks and reams of paperwork I’ve amassed.

And then, like the good little writer I am, I will sort the research into logical folders for future use. If I don’t post again in 48 hours, you’ll know the inscription on my tombstone: DEATH BY RESEARCH.

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