I awake after 2 equal opportunity snoozes (I got to hold my partner, then she me) to contemplate biography (the About page). The first 9-minute respite was introduced by a bass solo; the second opened with some ethereal piano and closed with some academic banter (such is Saturday morning on the local listener-supported jazz station).
The Bio is something the unheralded writer confronts when submitting work. The folks at the journal or e-zine want 75 words or less about you to share with their readers. It’s an opportunity to broadcast where else your work’s been published, in a friendly manner.
I was checking out a possible destination for some short fiction the other day. They called for bios that were 2 outside-the-box sentences that did NOT include publication credits.
The first paragraph on this page is my attempt at this.
The heralded writer (is “heralded” a word?) gets a full paragraph at the end of the book. It usually ends with a sentence like: She lives in Brooklyn with her partner, an architect at a financial services firm, and two children and/or pets.
I live across the street from Manhattan’s Central Park with my partner Kim, a community activist and artist, and our labradoodles Penny and Kobe (whom we share with our friends Jessica and Jeannine who live in the next building).
It’s a quite nice living environment, I must say.
I’m an avid reader of biographical blurbs. I used to subscribe to the New Yorker. I now subscribe to the Paris Review. The New Yorker blurbs tell you nothing about the authors. The Paris Review blurbs even less. They all mention past work. Maybe the publishers of that outside-the-box zine have a point.
I also love reading Wikipedia bios. I used to have a Wiki page. Until they started requiring that you have 3 published pieces about you in the “reputable” media! You can’t win for losing in this game.
I’ve been an active musician for over 50 years. Musicians’ bios invariably list the famous people they’ve played with. It’s a bit daunting. You’re supposed to know all of them.
I’ve played with a lot of guys. Some women, too.
What about the un-famous people? The quirky, ordinary folks who’ve enriched our lives, contributed to our culture, performed our world. They’re my heroes. They’re who I write about.