Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Author's Bios

Of the many jobs you've had in the course of your working years, you tend to skip over the more mundane ones, lest you betray the slightest hint that what you write will be ordinary.  

Thus you join brother and sister storytellers, wishing to suggest you are more an outlier than an insider.  In your resumes, you live in the adventure zones of delivering chickens for a butcher in Beverly Hills, you were apprenticed to a drunken house painter in Santa Monica, you were a shill for a carnival booth, where your job was to win canned hams and five-pound tins of Maxwell House Coffee, and you managed an illegal parking lot on the famed Miracle Mile of Los Angeles.

All right, the "illegal" while nice in the telling, was only controversial, because the parking lot was the bone of contention in an acrimonious divorce, where one of its owners was damned if she was going to let strangers park on her property, while her soon-to-be-ex didn't like to see anything going to waste.

Another confession:  You've had some ordinary, respectable jobs, such as a page in the Beverly Hills Public Library, and a solderer at the Pacific Telephone facility, also in Beverly Hills.  The best you could make of those is the fact that you did not live in Beverly Hills at any time in your life, thus the hint that you were attracted to deviousness, impersonations, intrigues.  

Indeed, whenever you had an ordinary job, you tended to make each day you showed up for work some conspiratorial agenda in which you were installing spy ware or arranging the books to be reshelved in patterns that would provide provocative messages for your cohorts in some secret organization.

Going to work as an editor or a teacher may seem exciting and filled with political intrigue, but on days where meetings were scheduled, you had to put your imagination to work for the sake of what you at the time considered your sanity.  The days when you were left to deal with your imagination and the need to produce intriguing commentary were the shining days.

In retrospect, you see that by nature you in fact are an outlier rather than an insider or team player.  You are indeed willing to work with others, butin mitigation, you prefer to think of these others more as accomplices than colleagues. 

Some of your mini-biographies contain enough mention of the  more bizarre occupations. even in this way acknowledging your own perception that a writer with ordinary experiences is more likely to go unpublished, or somehow pick up a reputation for writing conventional stories.

From time to time, you hear a person, in the process of describing some absurd event that has befallen her, using a trope that matches Reality with Story.  "You can't make this stuff up,"  the speaker will say, as a means of emphasising its realness and its real absurdity.

You like to think of yourself as a reservoir of absurd facts, theories, and observations, rather than the Google and Wikipedia reservoirs of facts, many of which you recognize as valid and based on supportive information.  Nevertheless, they are boring.

Your boredom led you to where you are today, which is to say as the exception to the "You can't make this stuff up" rule.  If a thing in Reality seems bigger than life, which is to say exaggerated or overstated, it will likely have caught your eye.

At times, this approach has given you pause to wonder about your own authenticity, in particular when you recall those times of serious intent, only to discover how exaggeratedly funny your own seriousness is.  Life is in many ways the struggle to maintain seriousness of nature without falling into the trap of the exaggerated humor that is unintended.

No comments: