Yesterday was a crummy day. I didn’t write because I had to deliver disheartening news at work, and felt depressed about that. My office looked very much like a villain in my eyes, but if things don’t pan out, the real villain will be the economic recession. I was operating on 2.5 hours of sleep given that Bryon had trouble sleeping without the fan, the first in our unsuccessful night of dust allergy management. (BTW, Wednesday’s test revealed that I am allergic to dust. I can never read Phil Pullman’s Compass books again. )

But today is better. Bryon went to bed at 8 upstairs with his fan. I spent my night downstairs on the couch. We have a plan to de-allergize our main bedroom, so it doesn’t look like we have to go Victorian with the whole separate bedroom thing after all. I’ve decided to get allergy shots to see if I can improve my condition for the future.

Today my head is in a good space. I like having a plan.


As you know, I’ve been putting together another plan, my research plan for Hulk Hercules. It’s a good thing that we authors are used to getting rejected.

I contacted the Chicago Schools three times, and I’ve been pretty much blown off. That’s not a big deal, as I can create a fictional school, place it somewhere in Chicago, and go with it. I like the touch of authenticity, but I have more flexibility this way, so I’m okay with not using Jane Addams.

I just got off the phone with the Brookfield Zoo. My contact there was very nice and very apologetic, but I was told in clear terms that the Brookfield Zoo name is trademarked and can not be used in the the novel. Further, their keepers are much too busy to be interviewed. I could go to the zoo and visit their designated keeper chats. After their educational chats about the animals, I might be able to snag them for some questions. I think not. I don’t want to nosily interject myself into their work day, especially after being told how busy they are. We tried this the professional way, and the zoo wasn’t interested, so I think I will cobble together an imaginary zoo as well, and we won’t worry about them.

THE BEST of the batch are the wrestlers. Windy City Pro Wrestling, I love you! There was no awkwardness, no levels of bureaucracy, real interest in the project and being helpful with the project–in short, being decent and pleasant like we Iowans are used to.

So, at this point, my only objective in going to Chicago is to talk to the wrestlers. I am still a great believer in doing research for my work, but I perceive that maybe Chicago institutions don’t care about my work as much as I do. Who’d have thought it?

How about you? Have you done much primary research for your work? How are you usually perceived as you try to find out what you need to know?


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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