Thanks to the lovely and talented Laurel Snyder and the equally lovely and talented Ellen Potter, who have both stared unflinchingly into the great, pimply, lying face of the ubiquitous falsehood known as the Author’s Bio and dared to spit in its eye, I’ve decided to take a long, hard look at my own.
It ain’t pretty, folks.
Here’s the truth: My author’s bio makes me look a helluva lot cooler than I actually am (*brief side note* – I think it’s hysterical that wordpress’s spell checker thinks that “helluva” is a real word.). Let me be clear: I am not, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be cool. I am the anti-cool. If Cool came to a barbeque at my house, it would stand uncomfortably in the side yard for a few minutes before answering a fake cell phone call with a fake emergency. And then it would leave.
So here’s my real bio. Read it and weep.
Kelly Barnhill took a bunch of creative writing classes in college with dreams of the writer’s life: cigarettes for breakfast, martinis for lunch, drafty attic apartments in NYC, brooding and volatile boyfriends in Paris, a tragic death narrowly averted, followed by wild sales of a volume of poetry. And perhaps it would have turned out that way had she not: a.) quit smoking; b.) hated martinis; c.) settled down with a nice boy from Virginia and instantly started producing cute children; d.) quit writing. And she quit writing for a good long while.
During the Quit-Writing phase, she waited on tables, worked as a park ranger and a janitor and a bar tender and a secretary and a coffee jerk, and later became a teacher. She’s been fired from jobs for being too chatty. She’s been fired from jobs for telling people off. She’s been laid off from jobs when the tax revenue situation totally sucked. She’s had more jobs than most graduating classes – mostly because she is easily distracted and given to moodiness.
Now, she raises children. She tries and fails to keep her house clean. She cooks meals and wipes noses and calls teachers and schedules well-child appointments. Being a mom means dealing with the dregs – overflowing toilets and soaked bedsheets and projectile vomit. She wipes up what can be wiped and fixes what can be fixed and throws away more than she’d like to admit.
She loves her kids, and is exasperated by her kids, and is amazed by her kids. She thinks her kids might one day rule the world. She writes when she can. She is still easily distracted and given to moodiness, but her husband and children are infinitely giving and forgiving. She is luckier than she ever thought possible. She’s managed to sell some books and some short stories – though her rejections outnumber her sales.
Actually, that was misleading. Her rejections are infinite in the way that time and space are infinite. But we all must carry on, and so must she. One step, one breath, one story at a time.