Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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Writing About Writers - keys to an interesting short author bio
February 26, 2013
Authors are writers. So why are so many author bios that you find on
the back of their book or on their website mundane? Why shouldn't bio
blurbs be as intriguing or interesting as the words those authors craft
on the pages of the book they've labored over?
Most writers have some interesting stories to tell about their lives.
Not because they are different from other people; everyone has a story
to tell. Rather it is because writers typically have eyes and ears for
good stories. They know how to weave details of their experiences in a
way that captures a reader's attention (and imagination).
I've written many short biographies for professionals. It is no easy
task to put in 200 to 1000 words the key points of a life.
Nevertheless, a short bio can be very helpful in letting the world know
who you are and promoting your work. In Six Tips to Crafting a Better Author Bio: Write A Life Story Worth Reading!,
Steve Piacente gives some excellent pointers on what to include in a
short bio. His tips are directed towards authors, but I think some of
his advice is applicable to anyone. In particular, I like the tips
about being conversational and open as well as framing your story in
the context of world events (where it makes sense - I mention more
about this in my article, Your Memoir and The Larger World).
You can get more information on how a One Page Professional Biography can help you here.
Living Life Twice Slice of Life Post
February 19, 2013
I came across a beautifully written post about observing our lives and
not taking anything for granted. I was reeled in first by the author's
quoting a John Prine song (Angel From Montgomery)
that features a sad line about people who go through life without
appreciating each day and having nothing to share with a spouse when
they get home. It's a sad and true reflection that happens all too
What really struck me about Alan Wright's slice of life post was how he
encourages us to notice simple things of beauty. Sometimes they are
quite striking (dolphins leaping in the ocean as they chase a school of
fish), but other times simple, yet elegant, like the shadows of a tree
dancing on a wall.
I've never visited the Living Life Twice website before, but I'm grateful my Google Alerts alerted
me to it. I enjoyed his post and was delighted to discover Alan Wright
is also a teacher. It is something we share in common along with a love
for life story writing. Check out the posting
- I think you'll enjoy it and I hope it gives you pause to consider the
many incredible things happening all around you each and every day.
Celebrate the 88
February 14, 2013
She's traveled the world, from the pyramids to the Andes, and many
other exotic locales. Many of her trips have been with her daughter (my
cousin) who's quite well traveled, having lived for a while in South
Africa and working stateside as a concierge at five star resorts.
adventurous spirit led Aunt Liz to take her first hot air balloon ride
at the age of 80. She's well read, a history buff and a cat lover. My
aunt is quite the amazing lady. She turned 88 years young today. That's
right, on Valentine's Day.
She's been slowed recently by pancreatic cancer. It's the same cancer
that took my mom (her younger sister) almost 7 years ago. But she's got
a good attitude about her life. She knows it has been full and
worthwhile. I've tried to get her to sit for some interviews, but it
hasn't happened. She's modest about her life and not that comfortable
talking about it. But I know she' lived an amazing life and I am glad
that she is nearby so we can visit.
Here's to celebrating the 88. It's got a nice ring to it. Happy Birthday, Auntie!
The Power of Each Second of Your Life
February 11, 2013
There are so many things happening in our lives. The really big ones
impact us and we remember them. They can become turning points and life
But what about the many seconds of our life that fly by? Each second contains something.
Have you ever stopped to consider what a montage of these life
occurrences would show you? Film artist and director Cesar Kuriyama
has. He recorded and edited a project, One second every day,
and it forced him to consider more closely his life and reevaluate
how he approaches each day. It's fascinating and you can learn more as
he shares about this project in his TED talk (www.ted.com)
The Beatles Invade America
February 7, 2013
Today is the 49th anniversary of a British invasion that changed America and the world. The Beatles flew into JFK airport on February 7, 1964 (The Beatles Bible).
There were over 5,000 fans waiting for them, mostly screaming young
girls. Beatlemania came to the United States as the amazing Fab Four
came to New York City. The Beatles were already wildly popular in
England and they quickly conquered the American music charts and won
the hearts of millions. At one time they had the top 5 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
The talent that converged in John, Paul, George and Ringo was
exceptional. Also, the times were ripe for a musical and cultural
revolution. If you are a child of the 60's then you probably grew up on
the Beatles, along with numerous other rock groups. It's really an
amazing part of our cultural history.
There are so many great Beatles songs - they've really stood the test
of time. Here's a writing prompt for you: Write about your five
favorite Beatles songs. What were they and why did you like each of
them so much?
The Last Life Story Question
February 5, 2013
When interviewing someone for their life story it is important to ask good questions.
Of course you will want to probe about childhood, career, adventures,
the good times and the bad. But what do you ask at the end of the
Fellow personal historian (and videographer) R. J. McHatton
likes to ask how they want to be remembered. This is something others
who work in life story work have also told me they like to do. I tend
to agree. After some time spent reminiscing and talking about their
life it is important, and can be quite revealing, to inquire what they
believe has been their "mark", their legacy. It is best to save this to
the end. If you ask it too soon you don't give the subject enough time
to cover their important life events. And if you don't ask it at all
you miss out on giving them the opportunity to reflect meaningfull on
their life after the experience of traveling down memory lane.
Mr. McHatton tipped APH members to CBS news legend Bob Schieffer's take on how he'd like to be remembered. You can his quick take here.