Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Art of Not Sounding Like a Toolbox When Writing About Yourself

("Tool" is a versatile word, and I like to combine it with "box" for maximum effect. Or, as Urban Dictionary eloquently explains, "More toolish than just a tool, but not quite as toolish as an entire toolshed.")

I'm required to write a brief professional biography of myself. Which should technically be called an "autobiography," but nobody has called it that. Maybe it's due to the whole writing-in-the-third-person style.

For inspiration, I read the biographies of other folks on similar pages.

___________ is the winner of [prestigious award] and was the director of [something that sounds important]. He/She also [don't be fooled by "also," which sounds like an aside, but this is where the real zinger comes in, where the person did something that sounds way cooler than everything mentioned thus far] in [an exotic location, or a place of low income, adding a sense of nobility].


I'm inspired by such biographies. A little jealous, too, but it certainly gets me amped: I want to be that kind of literary/teaching/life rock star.

After further reading, having cool or important experiences doesn't make one a toolbox, I've decided. It's the overlong biography that does.

Look, we get it. You're awesome. Maybe even a bestselling writer. Maybe some movie deals yielded from said bestseller(s). Everyone proffers awards in your general direction. And, to boot, you're also a humanitarian who has changed lives all over the world.

But a lesson in brevity might not hurt.

That said, I'm about to finish my three-sentence bio. I could be leading a rock star's life. I could be leading a rather, um, less rock star-ish life. But either way, I'll always be brief.


Flo said...

You're my rockstar. (I can't go on, I will go on.) I suppose I should create one of these, if ever, someone decides to take pity upon my work and recognize my pain and suffering. And AWESOMENESSSSS. Maybe the trick is to have someone else write it for you to avoid any self-perpetuated pretension. So basically, what I'm asking is, will you write mine?

I read a ridiculously long bio once for Joyce Carol Oates and laughed out loud. Because she's TERRIBLE.

Kevin Bahler said...

A woman after my own heart.