After another insightful weekend critique from Don (followed by a trip to the neighborhood pool with our sons; eat your heart out, Fuse: I’ve seen Hot Man #12 in his swimsuit), a considerably improved Toast went off to my agent this week. Between that, and the fact that all my other stuff is in circulation among editors now, I’m able to get going this week on a new project.

Except that it’s not exactly new. It’s one that I pitched to an editor earlier this year and began dabbling in this spring when I was distracted by other projects. I got nowhere with it — thanks, “multitasking”! — and set it aside until I could focus on it exclusively. And that time has come.

This nonfiction project — I’m going to call it Pasta, because it will make me laugh every time — will be an anthology of sorts, a collection of profiles of people with a common experience. This spring, I’d read biographies of a couple of these folks, took a few notes, and took a stab at starting the profile of one of them.

Without even looking at the work I did earlier this year, as I return to Pasta, I’m taking a big step back. Before drilling into any individual’s story, I want to make sure I’m clear on what I’m trying to do with the project as a whole, and how I’m going to go about it. So, I spent my lunch hour today in a comfy chair at Half Price Books, making notes in a little pad — questions I might want to answer with each profile, ideas for how to get started with my research, right down to the keywords I’ll want to begin searching by tomorrow morning.

My thinking is that I’ll write two or three of these profiles and build a formal proposal around them for the editor who was interested back in January. And while I’ve got three good candidates in mind for those profiles, the first thing I’m going to do is try to figure out who the other 10 or 12 people are that I’ll be including in the proposal.

I know they’re out there. First thing in the morning, I’ll begin seeking them out. Wish me luck.