I glared at the blank screen and felt a vague sense of panic bubbling up. I’d done the difficult bit, so why this fresh torture? “Just two or three sentences” they’d said, “just so the readers can get to know you, a bit about you.”
I don’t want people to get to know me. I don’t do people, not in person. It’s why I’m a writer and not, say, an actor. My natural habitat is a wasteland of scraps of paper, empty biros, and half drunk cups of tea scattered around a battered laptop I should have replaced two and a half years ago.
“Tom is currently struggling with his first novel, and is writing short stories to try and pay the rent. In the real world he works as an office manager and likes dogs.”
Oh gods, no. I selected and deleted the whole thing straight away. Maybe mellow it a bit?
“Tom lives on the South Downs, and takes inspiration from his morning views. He is currently working on his first novel, and…”
No, that’s awful. I deleted that too and took a swig from my cup. Cold tea, I discovered, is not improved by sticking empty packaging in it. I grimaced and put it to one side. How hard could this be?
“Tom is the winner of several recent competitions with stories themed around mystery and examinations of…”
No. That way lay pretension, and I really wasn’t happy about trying to blow my own trumpet like that. I got up and walked around the flat a bit. In sheer desperation I looked at what bios my contemporaries were writing. It didn’t really help.
Everyone seemed to have crafted elegant confections, or succinct highlights. Some went for humour, others were dry, but they did at least seem to match their writing styles.
Lucky sods probably didn’t have to write their own biography notes. Most of them read like some editor’s summary, and were as illuminating as a three watt bulb. I emailed them back and asked for more guidance.
“Look, it doesn’t have to be anything complicated or fancy. People just like to think they have an understanding of their authors and can glimpse the person behind the words.”
I looked again at my screen and felt a flash of anger displace the worry. So they wanted a peek behind the curtain did they? How ridiculous and entitled were they? Right, I decided, I’m not playing this game. Let’s see what they make of this:
“Tom has been planning world domination for at least five minutes and writes with the tears of drunken puppies about topics banned in at least three elven kingdoms. He assures us he had nothing to do with the Marie Celeste.”
There, I thought. That’ll teach them, they’ll not ask me that again. I should have known better.
Apparently it’s the most popular author’s biography they’ve ever seen. I’m getting other authors contacting me to write similar drivel for them. I get phone calls! What’s wrong with them?
If I get more famous for this than my stories, I’m going into hiding. This isn’t what I signed up for.
Maybe it is…