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A plan of action

September 1, 2008

I also feel compelled to outline my basic plan as it stands now, if for no other reason than to have something to compare to how it actually plays out down the road.

While this book is perhaps the most exciting project I have right now, it’s far from the only one. Currently, I’m a student, which means enrollment in five classes, although as a senior journalism major, these classes are not hugely taxing (ice skating, for real). I also have my duties as an investigative reporter at the Daily Collegian which, while relaxed from the quota I had as a senior music reporter, is still a fairly demanding responsibility, albeit a rewarding one. On top of that, I spend a few hours each morning doing editing work for UWire and spend another few hours a week tutoring other students in the University Writing Center. For some strange reason, I also continue to freelance sporadically for a variety of publications.

Suffice it to say I have a lot on my plate right now.

As a result, finding time to do everything I need to do for this book can be difficult (and blogging about it even more so). It also doesn’t help that I’m hundreds of miles away from Athens, Georgia.

So for the duration of the semester, I’m taking something of a relaxed approach. I will gather as much information as I can over the internet and through phone and e-mail correspondence with the few contacts I have so far, but it won’t be a terribly involved endeavor just yet.

Then, some week over winter break (December 19 to January 12), I will drive down to Athens and do whatever research I can there, doing in-person interviews with whoever happens to not be touring (and, of course, actually interested in talking to me) and getting a lay of the land. Unless I make a friend in Georgia between now and then, this week will likely be spent in a motel, although I have already convinced a friend (and may yet convince more) to join me in Athens, simply as a winter road trip.

After sewing as many seeds as I can over winter break, I will spend the spring semester cultivating them by proxy, using electronic and telephonic means wherever possible in the hopes that these metaphorical seeds will have blossomed into something more tangible by the time I graduate in May. If all continues to go according to plan, I will spend June subletting an apartment in Athens, doing as many interviews as I possibly can in that time.

At that point, I expect to take inventory of what I have so far and make a decision on where to go from there. As of now, it’s too early to make the call. I may have a job waiting for me in July, which would likely require me to do the remainder of my work intermittently and from afar. There’s also the chance that, while in Athens, I meet, fall in love with, and marry a rich Southern heiress and never have to work a day in my life, in which case I can either continue my project ad nauseam or abandon it altogether and spend my days telling everyone I meet that they “are giving me the vapors.” Who knows?

So as I mentioned last time, while I certainly have a path in mind, I’m going to make sure I keep my eyes open for any alternate routes. The ultimate goal is simply to tell the story as accurately and engagingly as I can, and whatever it takes to get there, I’m willing to do.

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