Next time I’m at the UEA, we’ve got a drinks reception with agents and editors and so in preparation for that, we’ve had to put together a biography to submit to them and other agents and editors who are unable to make it. Exciting stuff! Our biography has to be condensed down though to around three sentences. I’ve got to sum up my life, make myself sound interesting with just three sentences?! Tricky stuff. Then, there’s the added complication that next to the other people of my course, my life is Boring. Especially my writing life. I’m relatively new to this game, albeit I’ve written my whole life, and so unlike some of my fabulous colleagues, I don’t have loads of writing credits to my name. Or really interesting jobs. Or some sort of fantastic location I’ve lived in. So then I get anxious about the fact that I need to fill three sentences when actually I’ve got nothing interesting to shout about. I was feeling pretty dejected.
But then I realised I was doing myself down. I was right the first time. My life doesn’t fit into three lines. My achievements are wide and varied and it’s impossible to smudge them into just three short sentences. So I decided I’d put it out here. So agents and editors, if you’re asking… this is what you’re getting!
Excuse me Nigella for appropriating your title, but actually I feel I’m potentially more deserving of it anyway. I’ve raised three children and a husband, the latter obviously being the hardest job of all. My children are healthy and happy, fairly well-rounded individuals who know to keep all their bad behaviour for home and are therefore polite and meek in public. And you know what astounds me most of all? They love me! Even though I’m often cantankerous, they love me. And they know they’re loved too – which is potentially the most important thing of all.
Okay, extraordinaire might be pushing it but I’m fairly decent at the job. The students generally like me, the staff generally likes me, and I don’t generate too many parental complaints (and trust me, in this day and age, that is a triumph!). I love teaching and sharing my passion for all things English. I love around 95% of my students. They’re amazing people all of them. I like to think that I’m teaching them more than just how to pass exams, but am sharing my genuine passion for the subject and that’s kind of infectious. I take them all on lots of trips. And I run a creative writing group which has had the same people in since Year 8 – and they’re now all in Year 12! That’s creative writing loyalty for you. Oh yes, and I can shout loudly. Very very loudly!
Yes, I’ve taken liberties with the international bit, but it sounded better than just Go-Getter. I credit my dad for this aspect of my personality; he’s always been the type of person to have a dream and then go out and get it. And I like to think I’m the same again. Sometimes, an inability to say no to every opportunity that comes my way leads to a massive three car pileup in the stress motorway of my mind, but we always pull through. And I think the fact that I can have a goal, make a plan and make that goal a reality is a really positive aspect to be able to sing about.
All-Round Good Person to Know
I am a good listener. And I have a good sense of humour. And I’m fairly intelligent although the sheer volume of books I’ve read sometimes forces out actual knowledge and leaves me with nothing more than a vague idea of some fact. I try to be kind. I think there are definitely worse people you could have in your life!
I read lots. Like five books a week lots – that’s probably an average. I admit, most of them are crime, because that’s my true love, but I do read other things as well. And that translates into my writing. Because although I don’t have a gazillion writing credits to my name, what it is is a central core that runs through my very being. I’ve done PR, I’ve done marketing, I’ve written technical documents, I’ve done help guides, I’ve created web sites, I’ve blogged, I’ve written stories, I’ve shaped stories, I’ve written legal contracts. I have written.
If you had to sum up your achievements into three sentences, what would you choose? And more to the point, what would you leave out?