AKA How do I summarise myself, my life and my influences in 100 words?
As someone who finds my full-time work at best a pleasant distraction, and at worst a stultifying block to what I really want to do – my calling as an author-artist – I often wonder about the best way to define myself succinctly, to convey my personality within a word limit constrained by others.
Here are two artist bios I came across last week, which tickled my fancy and made me smile.
The first comes from a local singer-songwriter, Lloyd Dodsworth. He attends university in between building his musical career so hasn’t been gigging in his home-town area much recently. He played our local Folkie as a return-performer and is well-known around these parts, being a local. His bio, therefore, is more narrative than definitive, creating stark, pure images that soothe my soul with their sheer imaginative force:
It was a dark and stormy night. Foul creatures skittered beneath broken boughs, fleeing the soaking brush of the wild land for the safety of their burrow. There was no such shelter for the young man lost in the frenzy. A blinding fork split the sky and struck a mighty cedar tree: a garrulous clash of wind, wood and electricity. As the storm passed, the human approached the tree. It lay halved, in its place the raw, incomparable glory of a perfectly sculpted acoustic guitar. He lifted it gently, slipping its strap around his shoulders. It was time, he thought.
It was definitely time to see Lloyd live again: his songwriting has really developed since I last saw him perform, a couple of years ago. Overcoming an ‘interesting’ start of starting in the wrong key with a seemingly-untunable guitar by calmly distracting the audience through with his patter – to put this into context he had been working the bar for most of the weekend, something the musos often do at festivals like this – he delivered a powerful set that moved me with its insightful lyrics and tenderness. Lloyd has a way of pulling the guts out of a situation and laying it all bare, and knowing him personally (as a peripheral acquaintance) only makes this stronger. Definitely one to watch!
The second artist bio comes from a blog post I follow called “Ashi Responding to Life”. Ayushi A Nair is from Kerala and blogs regularly on books. She describes herself as “an avid reader, social worker, book reviewer, blogger and amateur photographer” – and her philosophy and approach to life resonates with me. Being Indian, the majority of the authors she reviews are of the same nationality.
This is the author of “Key to my Soul” and I love the immediacy of the descriptions, which vividly build a picture of his daily life and the tussle between the things he has to do to live and the things he would much rather be doing. It humorously plays with a conventional record of achievements by listing things which then turn out to be in his imagination, too:
Probal Mazumdar works in an IT company. He is an engineer by societal pressure, guitarist by love at first sound, singer by accident, poet by soul, writer by passion, a world-class badminton player in childhood dreams, rebel by day, recluse by night, a samosa in a family of laddoos, a Jughead at the dining table, a shameless and congenital dreamer.
Oh! An arsonist too – when his wife is not around, sets his own house on fire with his little son.
Probal clarified to me the cultural reference that I had missed (my one and only visit to India being now over 20 years ago): a samosa is a salty snack whereas a laddoo is a sweet dish. I hope I am fortunate enough to meet him someday.
To find out more about:
Lloyd visit https://soundcloud.com/eldodsworth
Probal visit https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16278361.Probal_Mazumdar, his eBook is available here https://www.amazon.com.au/Key-My-Soul-Probal-Mazumdar-ebook/dp/B01MRZXTHK/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1541803128&sr=1-9&keywords=Key+to+my+soul