I gave away one of my biography ideas yesterday, and it felt great.
For a few years, I’d had a file on this prospective subject — or rather, an empty file folder with her name and a potential title scrawled on it. Something had kept me from pursuing a picture book about her life, and once I took another look at her life this past week, I realized what it was: geography.
I’ve written about people without even visiting the cities where they lived or made their marks — Bob and Joe Switzer’s locales included Cleveland, Berkeley, and Fromberg, Montana, and I haven’t been to any of those places. But for none of those subjects was a sense of place as vital to the story as it would have been for this other subject I’d been considering.
To do her story justice, I would have needed to spend considerable time in a particular urban area far from suburban Central Texas, and I just didn’t see it happening anytime soon. But I did see a need for her story to be told soon, if for no other reason than my own selfish desire to read it myself and share it with my sons.
Lucky for me — and for you, because this subject’s tale is truly a great one — I know a writer of picture book biographies who lives in the right place. Yesterday, I handed my idea over to her, unsure of how I’d feel about letting a project go like that, since I’d never done that before. But it came as an immediate relief, and I guess that comes from knowing that this subject’s story is now that much more likely to be told, and to be told well.
Shoot, if I’d known it was going to feel this good, I’d have been giving ideas away a long time ago.