Tracing The Sketch

“Your first job is to get your story down as you remember it—now. Don’t look over your shoulder to see what relatives are perched there. Say what you want to say, freely and honestly, and finish the job.”  – William Zinsser

I initially did not know what I wanted to talk about in my biosketch. I took Zinsser’s advice and wrote about where I am right now at this stage of my career. I was afraid to admit that a job I took that was supposed to be my “next step” and the opportunity had not worked out. That was the catalyst to enroll in graduate school. Why wouldn’t I talk about it? After all, as Zinsser says, it is an “act of healing.”

It is important for me to be honest, but not be disrespectful. Who wants to hear about my sour grapes anyway? A line from the film, Reservoir Dogs, that always stood out to me was, “You gonna bark all day little doggie or are you gonna bite?” Thinking of this line, I realized I needed to move my bio to that “bite,” or in this case, my career goals.

What inspired me was Zinsser’s account of a woman that had a great story about a trip to Wyoming when she 15 for her memoir. It was a great story, but did not progress the story. Analogies and short term goals for the semester did not really progress my story, it just made the path longer to the main goal. I actually enjoyed trimming the bio as well. Authors I read tend to go long as it their style and I am trying to find my own. I have to come to grips with that this is their style, not mine, but the inspiration is still present.

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