After watching Public Enemies the other day, I had a thought cross my mind that I would love to write other people’s memoirs. I would love to sit down with them and ask them to tell me the story of their life. Ask for permission to read old letters, talk to loved ones, record their vivid memories so that people after them can learn and smile and relive their greatest moments. I would love the research of it. I would love the depth of it. I would love the opportunity to get to know someone that intimately, to trust and be trusted.

Plus it would save me from having to prattle on about me or some misconceived character I’ve come up with. I’d much rather write about someone else.

So, when an old friend asked me to take a crack at his bio for a new retail website he’s launching in a couple of weeks, I jumped at the chance even though I was out of my mind with strep and wasn’t at all sure that I’d be able to meet his deadline. I thought at the very least he’d forgive me and find someone else if I ended up flaking out on him. But the opportunity to try this was something I just couldn’t pass up.

I’ve been working on it off and on all day and I gotta say that it’s a good deal harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it would easier with a stranger, someone I don’t have personal history with. Because I’m having an awfully hard time writing about him and his history without putting him into my own personal context. We’ve known each other a long time, so it’s hard for me to see him objectively. And that’s what a bio is; an objective look at a person’s history and what brought them to this particular point in their lives.

I’ll keep at it. Typing and erasing, typing and erasing. And I hope that I’ll figure out how to use our history and context to enrich the bio. But I think I’ll go with a stranger next time. Someone to get to know as we go along.

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