As anyone who’s ever tried to get such material from me will testify, I really hate writing bios. I always feel like the class idiot. What do I say that doesn’t sound completely onanistic? And yet is interesting enough to get people to read on? I usually go for the silly, with a slight touch of defiant. Phrases like “kept woman”, “Essentially Unemployable”, “Very Understanding Husband” and “flock of chooks who are developing very keen analytical skills” tend to be used. Working with my publisher to create that sort of material for press releases (to promote the book, and to pimp myself to writers’ festivals, arts bodies, awards committees, strange men wearing sunglasses and trenchcoats, that sort of thing) was very nearly as painful as the work put in to polishing the book in the first place.
And while I, in principal, quite like the idea of Takahe including not only a bio AND a photo (noooooooooooooooooo!) but also a brief comment about my writing ethos and/or inspiration … not so enjoyable when it’s time to generate one of my own. (Sorry Siobhan!) It’s not that I want to keep it secret, or that I’m shy when it comes to talking about my ideas about writing (ta da! Blog), but more that I’m usually at a loss to come up with anything interesting that hasn’t been said before more eloquently by someone else. And somehow “I write in a chair, and almost always with a blue pen” doesn’t really seem sufficient. And that’s only the most recent incident. I keep getting halfway through funding applications and then losing the will to live. It’s not that I don’t understand what they’re after, but I do end up feeling a bit wrung out by the whole process, and these days funding bodies tend to get a bit leery if you ask for funding to help you cope with writing funding applications …
If I am not alone, and you, dear reader, also find yourself somewhat nonplussed by these sorts of requests, help is at hand. May I direct your attention to the Instant Artist Statement engine, aka ‘The Arty Bollocks Generator’.
I take no responsibility for the consequences.