I recently opened a Linkedin account to do some online bragging. It was a requirement of a film course in which I am enrolled. The prof called it obtaining a professional online presence. All I’d have to do is go online and fill in the blanks in the form of my choice. I picked a fairly plain form, one of the free ones. And so the easy questions:
Of what? Me? My life? 50 years summed up in just a few lines. Or if I want to be concise, in just a few words. Hmmm. Old? Complex? Distraught? Focus now. A professional presence. Right. My new profession? Writer. Good. Student? No, too unfocussed. Yes, Writer. I’m a writer.
I have some. Hit an in-the-park triple once. I was fast. Hit a rock in a sailing race. Raced a car on a track. Bought and sold cars to put myself through law school. Studied Negotiation at Harvard Law School. My grandfather flew a Harvard trainer in the war. I trained several dogs for utility trials. I won many trials by judge and neither of the two I ran with juries. I ran a half marathon once when I was thin. I’m half way through this life (assuming 100 years total). My life flashed before my eyes when I crashed a motorcycle. My eyes are sometimes more green than brown. The colour of my eyes is not experience. Be professional. My new profession. I’ve written some stuff.
HONORS AND AWARDS
I should win an award for the number of times I allow the American spelling of honor to linger on the page, taunting me. I’m not listing my honors and awards. That’s just braggardly.
Hundreds, if you count my old profession. Precious few if you rely on the new one. I might get published more if I sent stuff out. But I’m an artist, not a salesman. I’ve got a damn good novel sitting under my desk. If they want it, they’ll just have to come and ask.
I did a thing on the Whale Shark once. Used Bristol board and everything. Maxed out my sister’s Laurentian coloured pencils. Or colored, if I’m going for consistency. Got a B+. I should’ve got an A. Marky Minto got an A for his growing lima bean experiment that showed lima beans won’t germinate on rocks. Duh.
SKILLS AND EXPERTISE
I quite like this one. I have lots of skills and expertise but I’m not sure the world is ready for me to reveal exactly what my wife loves, how I put up with my twenty-something boomerang kids or tolerate my friends from the coffee shop, what it takes to slip an inverted CV boot onto the inboard side of a vintage Porsche 911 half shaft, or how to tile a shower. And did you know that Tide laundry detergent is great for fertilizing your lawn? I can also kickstart a virtually unstartable 1970 Ducati. It’s red and I restored it myself.
I go to school. I used to teach it. Before that I was a student too. What goes around, comes around. I might teach again. Maybe I can teach how to fill out online forms?
Not so much. I used to be of the Winston Churchill clean desk school of thought, but now I’m more of a hoarder of hard copies of ideas.
And Finally, PERSONAL DETAILS
Well, obviously, those are personal. If anything is personal to a novelist who’s written some fiction, a couple of plays and some bad poetry, had some of the stuff published despite repeated attempts to thwart that process, gained some recognition and a few university degrees along the way, been involved in some movies, sold a car to David Cronenberg, met Anthony Hopkins and grew up with Geddy Lee, Michael Eisner, Howie Mandel, and Mark Breslin, personally handed my screenplay to David E. Kelly when he asked for it, briefly dated one of the girls from MeatBalls, recorded the prototype of the song that became the Guns and Roses hit Patience, lived across the street from an unnamed (by agreement) movie producer, know intimate details about at least two of the 200+ Shapiros listed on IMDB, shared a box of popcorn with Harvey Weinstein, and have been continuously shunned by Oscar due no doubt to my strong views on decentralization of the Hollywood movie industry. I’m not related in any way to Woody Allen, and Michelle Pfeiffer once told me I was so very handsome and fluffy while she petted my dog. I thought that was a bit weird. I’m not really fluffy.
So I’m forgoing the online professional presence. Instead I’m going to retreat to my study and write. My heirs will appreciate it.