Friday, July 24, 2009

My Bios Are Mind-numbing

My editors often ask me to write new bios for books, websites, newsletters, etc. Since I’m a fiction writer who sits at a desk many hours, and a daughter who cares for her elderly parents, my life is pretty boring. I’m not a detective, doctor, or lawyer who writes as a fun hobby. I sit, type, research, copy-edit, and type some more. I’ve been married to the same good man for more than 30 years and have two sweet grown daughters who are teachers like my mom was. I have four dogs, two of which are young pups and are driving me crazy trying to housebreak them. I’m too soft. I can’t just crate them all the time and listen to them cry.

I cook when I have time and have fun coming up with my own recipes, usually by accident because I didn’t have time to go shopping and didn’t have what the recipe calls for.

Today I worked for a few hours on the computer, went out to pick tomatoes so I could take some to my parents, then drove to their house to check on them. I have to bathe my mom. She has Alzheimer’s and has forgotten how to even shower by herself. I know it disturbs her when I help her bathe, it disturbs me, too, but it’s the only way it’ll get done. My dad is in his 80’s, hard of hearing, and life confuses him. My mom took care of all the extra things in life for him for 50 years and now she can’t. My brother and I try to handle all that we can for them, because it’s just too much for my dad. Today his dryer quit working. I helped him hang the wet clothes around in the house. Luckily my brother can fix appliances. On my way home I stopped by his house to see if I should get a new dryer. He is going to go out there to check and see if the old one is worth fixing. If not, I’ll be shopping for a new dryer. It’s four in the afternoon before I realize I haven’t had breakfast yet. Where has the time gone?

This life isn’t something that makes an entertaining bio. The only thing entertaining in my life at this time is within the fiction I write. Why couldn’t I have been a rocket scientist who writes as a hobby? With that I could write an entertaining bio.

I won’t even mention trying to come up with a new publicity photo. SIGH!


  1. My suggestion: write a fictional bio.

    I can certainly sympathize with you in the caring for your parents. I've been through something all too similar. It's tough on all concerned.

  2. Hi Livia,

    Here are a few suggestions, from a guy who often puts his foot in his mouth.

    I like your first paragraph, where you mention all the things you DON'T do. You could even take this farther, using well-known facts about famous writers. For example, you could say, "I've never been to a bullfight, have never been a wandering and dissatisfied expatriate, am not a recluse, have never had a foot amputated because I neglected a case of gangrene (Woolrich), have no "round table" where I share bon mots and witticisms with a rich and famous group of literary folks, and have no plans to drink myself to death."
    Those are just examples off the top of my head. You may have other writers whose idiosyncracies come to mind.

    Also, a sprinkle of humor here and there always livens things up. For example, let's say you really enjoy apple pie (or any food), you could write, "I wield a mean knife and fork if, even out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of my dining companion's hand easing it's way toward my beloved apple pie, even in the poshest of dining establishments."
    Or, let's say there's a small animal you find particularly repulsive. For example, a caterpillar. "I'm scared to death of caterpillars, and am known to break Jesse Owens's track record at the sight of one."
    Or, you could go into a "what if" flight of fancy: "If I ever win the lottery, the first thing I'll be will be a dozen koala bears, hand-delivered personally from New Zealand."

    I guess I'm trying to say, think of small details in your life you can have some fun with. Everyone has their own unique quirks and habits. They just don't usually don't think about them because they've become habit.

    Anyway, hope that inspires something. James has been very kind and helpful to me the past 2-3months. He's a keeper!

    Take care,
    Brian Ritt

  3. Whoops, that koala sentence should read, "...the first thing I'll BUY..." not "...the first thing I'll BE..."

    Damn, I knew I'd put my foot in my mouth somewhere along the line.


  4. Your story is mine in regard to parents. My Mom died in Feburary-she was completely with it mentally but her body gave out. My Dad is the opposite and can remember/do very little. These are wearying years, aren't they? For five years, I was their sole caretaker. Now I have just the one although my Mom had much more to give back.
    Everyone I know in their fifties and sixties has a parent or two like this. I'm glad I had my kids at a young age and wonder how they will cope with kids at home and elderly parents at the same time.
    Yes, write a fictional bio. We all need one.

  5. Your life may not be Indiana Jones exciting but it's a strong, solid life, the kind good folks live and the kind the rest of us should emmulate.

    But who is this 'good man' you speak of? :)

  6. My parents live 200 miles away. My wife has gone down there for the month to care for them. Mom has Alzheimer's, Dad's partily blind. My wife down to give my sister who usually does all the driving and around the house care, a respite. It says something that she'll doo this even though they're not her parents. Caring for your parents is a full time job, even though you also have your own family and life to take care of. So.... more power to you. As for your biography.... ask James to write it. You're too dragged down by the daily activities while James can see the bright points in your life.

  7. Sounds like you got a lot of good advice. It sure gives a lot to think about. Nothing wrong with your life - just spicing it up!!!

  8. Writing to me certainly sounds exciting. You like many writers (Bill Crider included) make a contribution to our lives as readers. I think it is amazing how your characters (although fictional) can still have those real life qualities.

  9. A fictional bio . . . you mean I am a rocket scientist? Wait a minute this bio is for a paranormal romance. Hum . . . Nope, I have nothing. I may have to go with the idea of what I’m not. Lets see . . . not a vampire . . . not a werewolf . . . I have it! I’m a shape shifter. Of course it took thirty years of too much sitting and typing to get that one.

    Thanks for all the kind words. I really don’t mind helping my parents. It just breaks my heart not being able to talk to my mom like I once could. We are very lucky that she was such a sweet lady, because true personality comes through with Alzheimer’s, she's still a very sweet, loving lady. They really need to come up with some better drugs for that monster.

    BEB you are very lucky to have such a loving, caring wife. James is the same way. I can’t tell you how many times he’s taken my dad to the doctor so I can take care of my mom and things around their house. I have to sneak clean and sneak in new clothes for them because my dad doesn’t like us having to take care of them. He’s very independent and hates that we have to help. When James takes him to the doctor, it makes sneaking easier.

    Again thanks for all the great suggestions. Now lets see if I can get this bio done.

  10. Your bio may not be glamorous but it sure proves you're a remarkable, loving daughter and wife. I was really touched by it.