I just looked at the time, a little shocked it was so late. This morning was grey and dreary, but I pushed myself outside, if only for an hour at the coffee shop. It rained as soon as I left the house. Then it was bright enough for sunglasses by the time I made my way home.

I’ve been reading SPEAKERS OF THE DEAD all day, and I’m nearly done, but I don’t think I’ll stay up for the last 100 pages. It’s a mystery about grave robbers set in 1843, and the protagonist is Walt Whitman. I found it at my library after finishing the first biography.

So now this is a project. I read a tiny collection of his Civil War writing, mostly so I could add the book to my donate pile. Then I tore through the thick hardcover bio I bought at Powell’s in Portland (maybe during the 2012 road trip?). I also have a more specific bio called A GAY LIFE and Michael Cunningham’s novel/intertext SPECIMEN DAYS. (I read THE HOURS last year, which is basically the same concept, only Virginia Woolf.)

But SPEAKERS is straight up fan fiction. Walt Whitman is a reporter (true), trying to exonerate his friends, a husband and wife, after their death and execution, respectively. Henry Saunders, an ex-boyfriend (probably true) and also his new boss at the paper (definitely false), helps him solve the crime.

I’m enjoying it enough to keep picking it up all day long. I’ll certainly finish tomorrow. I’ll probably read a sequel if it turns into a series.

But, damn, I can’t help but think about all the great fan fiction I’ve read over the literal decades now, and how much of it should have been published books instead.