The words which define me

For someone so awfully preoccupied with words, I have a hard time choosing the right ones to describe myself. I recently had to reconsider my “bio”, a short paragraph or two meant to act as a sort of introduction to new readers, or so they say. I’d already written one for when I made my guest blog post for Cynthia Robertson. It was a fine bio, certainly. It said what it needed to. But I’ve never been able to square with the notion of cramming “me” into a tiny string of letters, so it’s hard for me to remain comfortable with those sorts of things for long.

I know that’s really over-simplifying matters, far further than anyone ever should. A bio is only a tidbit. A taste. A minor selection of details that should, in theory, appeal to the sensibilities of the readers of that piece and give them just a little insight into the person behind the text. But what does it express? What does a bio convey to the public, the greater readers who don’t actually get to know you?

Am I the sum of my creations? No, the physical things I make are such a small part of me. Am I defined by the things which surround me? To an extent, that can be true. I got to thinking about this even harder after reading Angie McDonald’s post from her blog, All Adither. 15-word fiction offers a selection of super-tiny stories, giving an insight into something bigger with those bare fifteen words. They are much like micro-bios of a potential whole story. I even took a stab at writing my own.

She wore a guise of ink; staining her fingertips and injecting her body with art.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to come up with that. I had written and discarded several others which didn’t strike me as expressive or poignant, though I was probably just being too critical. This one fleeting line, though… I’m kind of in love. With the idea, with the women it’s about, a woman I am more than a little interested in crafting into a full character and finding her a home in a book. Regular readers and friends of mine will know I love meaningful tattoos, and artworks of all kinds, whether visual or written. She, clothed in ink, is a part of me and entirely separate.

If I spent a very long time, and gave myself a whole lot of poetic freedom, I might come up with a bio which accurately depicts me. At least in a way that I could feel more confident in. Perhaps. In the meantime, I did update the bio on the Who is Ashlee? page, and for the time being, I’m pleased with it.