I had the strangest request yesterday – something truly bizarre!
I do a bit of freelance writing, and my favorite thing is writing bio blurbs for people. I just love to help people get their words out there, and few people can handle writing about themselves. These personal stories are super fun to write, and I am really good at them. One time I wrote a bio for a grandmother who was starting a quilting business and also rides a Harley. The other day I got to write one for an amazing Hollywood composer who is smashing gender and racial stereotypes. It’s awesome! Then, yesterday, I got something completely different.
This woman messaged me on Fiverr, a freelancing site I use a lot, and asked for a bio for her Etsy store, which she runs with her mom. This sounded right up my alley, so I responded immediately, asking for info about her, her mother, and their relationship. To which she said, “Well, can’t you just write that?”
“Well, yes,” I replied, “I’ll write the bio. The info you send me doesn’t need to be in paragraph form or anything; bullet points are fine. You give me the info, and I’ll write it up and make it cohesive and polished. Any info about your childhood, how you and your mom interact; things like that will be helpful.”
“No, I mean, can’t you just use your creativity? I don’t know what to say. Just make it up.”
That’s right, folks. This lady wasn’t asking for a bio blurb. She was asking for a 500-word flash fiction piece. For her Etsy store. Isn’t the whole point of Etsy that you really get to know the seller? That they’re a real person you can trust, and not a faceless corporation? But, you know, a job’s a job. So I wrote it. Here’s my first draft (names changed to protect my client’s privacy, which is clearly important to her). What do you think?
Alison Claire McCartney was born one fateful April evening in 1425, deep in the moors of Scotland, the illegitimate daughter of Abraham Lincoln McCartney and Hildie Smith. Her life only got more interesting from there. At the age of three, Alison summoned her first dragon. The dragon’s name was Princess Snowball, and she was the scullery maid at the dragon castle. This came in handy, as Hildie hated doing dishes. Alison had saved Hildie from a life of drudgery, and a special bond formed between the child and her mother.
A few years later, as Alison was playing on the moor, she was shocked to see a large oblong device floating above her. It being 1452, Alison had never seen a zeppelin before. She ran back to her cottage, and told Hildie and Princess Snowball all about it. Princess Snowball raced into the sky, and spat flames at the zeppelin, instantly killing the only scientist to have ever discovered time travel, only moments after he had traveled there from 1936. Alas, the flames also destroyed his notes, and we shall never learn just how he did it.
Alison became fascinated with machinery, and attended engineering school in Glasgow, dressing as a man in order to attain her doctorate. While there, she fell in with the alchemists, and became determined to discover the key to immortality, reasoning that this was the only way she would live to see all the machinery that will ever be made.
She searched far and wide for the formula to live forever, eventually making her way to the deepest reaches of Africa. There, one fateful morning in 1490, in the middle of a swamp, she discovered a rare plant that conferred upon her eternal life. She traveled back to Scotland and shared the plant with her mother and her cousin Bonnie.
These days, Alison and Hildie run an Etsy shop, where they sell handmade steampunk jewelry and hats. This is that shop. Bonnie had an allergic reaction to the plant, and only lived to be 204.