I struggled with a challenging task this week. I entered a writing competition and had to write a biography about myself. You’re probably thinking, “So? You yammer on about stuff going on in your life a few times a week right here.” This is true. But mostly what I choose to yammer about are experiences that happen in my life that I hope others can relate to or laugh with me about. (I said with me, not at me! Meanie! Watch out or I’ll go all Kanye West on you in one of these posts and really go off on a tangent! Then you’ll be all, “Ack! Please, just stick to muffin tops and crock pots!”) Anyway, I’m not in the habit off ticking off the life and times of my professional and academic life. For a reason. (That sound you hear? That’s me snoring.)
And also? This fun little “bio” could only be 150 words—not a word more. 150 words! I swear I can speak in 150 word sentences when I really get going and not even come up for air. Brevity is not my style, though in truth, being forced to limit myself to fewer words at times makes my writing better. (And probably would keep me from sticking my foot in my mouth if applied to the spoken word as well!)
But my main issue is biographies—and I’m not sure why—tend to be written in the third person. So to me, it’s kind of like you’re writing about yourself in a detached manner. It seems impersonal, oddly formal, and for some reason—totally weirds me out. For example, instead of writing, “I live with my husband, sons, and assorted dust bunnies.” I had to write, “Mrs. Muffintopmommy lives with her husband, sons, and assorted dust bunnies.”
It just doesn’t sound right. Not the dust bunny part! That part is totally right.
I tried to practice by speaking in the third person when my husband got home from work the other night.
“Hey hon, she didn’t cook any dinner tonight so would he like to order some take out?”
“I said she didn’t cook any dinner. There’s NO dinner. None. Muffintopmommy was too busy working on her blog, hoping to spread joy and laughter for the good of humanity, and so I’m sorry, but she couldn’t make any dinner. Between that and her role as executive hausfrau in charge of toddler negotiations, she just couldn’t squeeze it in. Her degree in English did not adequately prepare her for these culinary challenges.”
“Wait, what? Who’s she?” Now that’s flip. If he’s pissed there’s no dinner, he should just say so.
“Hon, try to follow along here. Come on. You know who she is. Just tell me. Does he want pizza or Chinese?” Dinner is just a phone call away. Just answer her already! She’s starving! Can’t you hear her tummy roar? Can’t you see her muffin top whittling away?
“I thought the kids ate. He who?” Sonofabitch. Remind her not to try the kingly we.
See what I mean? If the whole world operated in the third person, pandemonium would surely ensue.
Oh, and by the way, this whole blog post is 567 words! It’s one of my shortest ones ever. One good thing about the bio exercise? I’m embracing my inner brevity. Besides, I don’t have time for more tonight. She has to go cook the dinner.