For contrast, my “professional” bio sounds something like this:
Laurel Snyder is the author of five books for children, two collections of poetry, and she edited an anthology of essays about the Jewish interfaith experience. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and a regular commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Laurel now lives in Atlanta, in a little brick house full of wild beasts.
You see what we all do there? Ellen’s right. We talk about how productive/smart/esteemed we are, and then we give it a punchy/silly/personal twist that suggests we’re human, but not too human!
Here’s an honest bio:
Laurel Snyder graduated from high school with a 2.4 GPA and was shocked when the University of TN at Chattanooga offered her a scholarship anyway. She will be forever grateful for that chance to live/learn/write poems/wait tables in such a lovely place, despite the lack of heat or air conditioning in her apartment. It was a formative time, full of big new ideas, malt liquor, and ramen noodles.
Upon graduation, Laurel was accepted into the esteemed Iowa Writers Workshop, where she became fairly depressed–in part due to Midwestern winters, and in part due to her very esteemed classmates who made her feel like she knew very little about anything. Though really, that was her fault and not theirs, and she accepts responsibility for that. In any case, she spent a few years after graduation NOT writing or publishing. Instead she dated recklessly and hung around in smoky bars with fun musicians.
Laurel’s sole attempt to move to Manhattan and become a “real writer” lasted about four months. Since giving up on becoming a “real writer” (and having an academic career too) she has worked a variety of waitress/Jewish non-profit jobs, gotten married, moved to Atlanta, and become a much happier person.
After her first child was born in 2005, Laurel was forced to quit her job, because she made less than a babysitter. At that time–crazed by spending 24 hours a day trapped in a house with a mewling (if adorable) baby–she began to sort through old manuscripts and book ideas, and was shocked to discover that people were actually interested in publishing her books. In an attemept to become even more succesful, she had another child!
Laurel does not make much money, and her life isn’t very glamorous. She has a very part-time childcare situation, and she shares her office with her husband, a washer/dryer, and a pile of toys and dirty clothes. She rarely has time to shower more than every other day, never shaves her legs, forgets about the cat-box until it becomes problematic for everyone, and she clips a lot of coupons. She lives in a sprawling huge city, far from her own family, and that makes her a little sad. But she has amazing kids, a great husband, and wonderful friends, so she is, in fact, terribly grateful for everything.
Except the lice! Laurel wishes she could go back in time and NOT have head lice as a kid. That was just awful!