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Bionic Six

At one point or another, most people need a brief biographical statement. I’d venture to say that depending on the field you’re in, this piece of text is as crucial as a solid cover letter. Usually a bio consists of five to ten sentences about your recent accomplishments and conquests that paint a pretty picture of you for a professional gig, a personal site, press-release, or the alumni newsletter of your high school.

For whatever reason, we’ve found that more often than not people will pay for us to construct their bio. It’s hard to write about yourself, even if you know you’re awesome.

Monroe Gallery Showcase Image

When Simon started writing professionally a few years ago, some of his first gigs were friends’ bios, usually artists or bands who needed some sentences to make them seem interesting. He was able to weave words in whatever way he saw fit since these weren’t directly related to suit-and-tie businesses or corporate whoring, and he referred to the outcome as “atypical suburban mythology.” He likes to make up sirenic stories that stand out apart from the individual or their wares, nouveau fairytales that capture the essence of the composition or the idea behind it, without directly addressing what the reasoning process was behind the work or the artist. Not only have other artist pals called upon him for the special A&E treatment, he’s written bios for bands, bicycle builders, and bookmakers. Each is whimsical and charismatic.

My personal bio education began when I started submitting articles to magazines and had to provide a fairly standard publishing bio: where I went to school, where my work has been featured, where I live and maybe a brief anecdote about my pets. Then, last summer, I was asked to read poetry at a festival and was asked to write something a bit longer. This is what I came up with:

Ainsley Drew has been writing poetry since the age of five and has been crushing on girls since Punky Brewster hit the scene. Currently, she works as a legal assistant and writes poetry when she should be preparing legal documents. She studied screenwriting at NYU Tisch and has written for GO NYC magazine. A native New Yorker, she lives in Brooklyn with her best friend. They are known to cavort naked and tempt both genders from their second floor window.

What’s funny is that now, looking back on it, none of it holds true. I’ve gone from being a queer, unskilled paralegal living in Brooklyn with her best friend, to being a freelance writer slumming it in Portland with her business partner, who also happens to be her bedmate. Oh, and did I mention that it’s a pretty standard boy-girl pairing?

(When I asked Simon for his bio he wrote: “I have no bio for myself. Once I started, I wouldn’t ever be satisfied with just one. I’d write my bio as if it were a poorly-translated VCR manual, as an ingredients list for Pop Tarts, as if I had gone to school for satellite repair, anything to make me feel more interesting. Because I’m not really that interesting. I sleep a lot.”)

Mirror Mirror

Bios change. I think that’s what makes them so intimidating.  You basically have to take all of your strengths and successes and condense them into a paragraph. After you do that, you might have to accept that those sentences fully encapsulate all of your glory. It’s like seeing the pencil line indicating your height on the doorframe next to your sister’s. She’s still taller, even though you knew you grew since the last time you were measured. Moreover, does what you’ve said about yourself make you irresistible, worthy of being asked out, hired, or signed? Not every bio sells the same you, just like how I wouldn’t put those sentences above in the cover letter for any future, desperate gig as a secretary.

This blog has taught me the essential evil of marketing. If you can’t find a way to sell yourself, either as intellectual property or as an expert who can provide a service, you’re dead in the Portland rainwater. Bios are the sucker punch. They’re the accessories to the outfit, the sick paint job to your ride. My personal bio writing style is a trifle more reigned in than my counterpart’s, probably due to my history working in cubicles. I know how to write within the lines and to push up against them, mainly ’cause I rode the elevator up to countless job interviews checking the polished faux bronze for lipstick on my teeth. There’s no room for over-the-top charisma when the goal is a paper pushing paycheck. I’ve learned how to condense individuals down into less than ten information-packed sentences for desk jobs to publishing gigs, while Simon hooks the reader with effortless, colorful language that reads like bite-sized poetry. Positive traits fan out like a peacock feathers — software experience for jobs in front of a monitor, expertise with coffee machines for administrative work, publication and honors depending on how much proverbial penis you’re going to have to swallow — and, more importantly, irrelevant details are left out. Bios are like burlesque. Know what to show, know what to tell, and know what to keep hidden like an unsightly mole.

All Is Vanity

With a bio you have to be as careful with words as possible, it’s like aiming that one silver bullet into the heart of a werewolf. If you don’t have the reader by sentence two then you  might as well start studying a lunar chart and practice your howl. Recently we’ve constructed bios for the staff at a design firm, a freshly-signed indie rock band, a graphic designer, and a seamstress. Although they might not be the most lucrative gigs I can say that, for both of us, they’re one of the more enjoyable to create and perfect.

If you, or someone you know, needs the biographical brigade, hit us up. We go for cheap, fast, and as dirty as you’d like it. The beauty of the bio is that just like a washable maxi pad, you can use it more than once. Contact us for either professional bios or the suburban mythology kind. Like I said, we can do both. And fast.

Mirror Girls Pop Sci

Additionally, I’d like to express my condolences to fellow Yankee fans. The two of us here at the Ministry of Imagery are engaged in a bit of a friendly rivalry regarding this weekend’s subway series. Today was the first game and bets were wagered: if the Yankees won, Simon would have to wear a tie and a button down shirt. If the Mets won, I would have to write a sonnet. About the Mets. And it wasn’t allowed to be negative. Below is the final product, in quasi-English sonnet form. Enjoy. Sidney Ponson, please don’t suck as much as you have the capacity to suck.

It is Friday, and the first game’s done
Dan Giese’s pitching really sucked a lot
And so the match up wasn’t fairly won
Carlos Delgado’s bat was just too hot
And made River Avenue look more like Shea.
David Wright lived up to his name in the sixth
Even despite the error by Mike Pelfrey
And Giambi’s bat smashed into sticks
The Yankees still couldn’t pick up the pace.
so much was wrong, beginning with
Edwar Ramirez having Flava Flav’s face
And then we left two men on in the fifth.
God, so much of it is a fucking shame
But at least it’s baseball, just a game.

AinsleyDrew at gmail dot calm


One Comment

  1. I avoid my biography like the plague. I’m even more afraid of what someone else would say than I am of what I could come up with myself.

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