The book publisher puts in a request politely;

Miss Daquin, Thank you for sending through nearly everything

I am missing however, a current photograph and biography which

we will use to promote your work.”

I chew my pencil (lead poisoning is a reality in my zip code)

lick my dry lips (that exfoliation yesterday really didn’t live up to the packaging, I feel mummified)

drink the last of the tepid herbal tea languishing by my computer

I want to type the truth, but how often do we ever?

“Dear Ms. Lucano, Appreciate the heads-up, I am missing however

the compunction, maybe the very DNA, possibly the whole enchilada

that acts as; propellant, motivator, esteem-builder, cracks-in-soul-repairer

they don’t sell that kind of glue in my zip code, but they do sell pencils I chew

I know, I know, I live in AMERICA now, I can’t hide behind masks or grow

dragon tails (anymore) it won’t do, I know, really

but I’m cracked woman, split down the middle, stuffing coming out.”

as my sister once said; it’s not cute after 30 (she may be right, we both however

still do the awkward kid thing far too often without intention)

I have a lot of work on my desk and my inbox is full

you could call me an adult or a seething mass of dark matter

but inside? I’m a badly formed Kintsugi, unable to exert sufficient EGO

to push herself forward

God, it takes a tidal wave most days and yes, hallelujah! I always get up punctually

meet my obligations, keep my promises, wash my armpits (don’t always shave them)

I even check for dandruff and avoid watching day-time-TV

which … when you feel like hell is no small task, I’ll tell you

harder than not eating all those Easter eggs in one gulp (damn heathen)

“Dear Ms. Lucano, I didn’t send you a photo because I loathe myself

Frankly I hate myself. I hate the bones in my face describing the horror

I never tell anyone about, I hate the haggish element to my expressions

and how time has lain her inky print right across my forehead

like a fucking sinking ship playing; Nearer, my God, to thee (or was that just James Cameron’s take on it?)

why do you think I made pretty little retro tattoo images instead?

Because this ill-wrought mermaid doesn’t want to bare a damn thing.”

I remember once, a professional photographer caught me in a poor moment, coined on my eyeballs

the hot lights transforming me into post-mortem SCOLD, did you know they

created masks for that very purposing? Gossiper shame masks had long tongues

but mine is a rictus, a parody, lipstick a welt across skin.

“Dear Ms. Lucano, I didn’t send a biography because quite honestly

everyone writes biographies now. My postman asked me to edit his

just yesterday and the day before, the milk-man, I asked him, are there

any milk-women? And he giggled behind his hand like a Japanese

anime fan. Even my salamander writes biographies, excuse me if

I’m quite patently sick of them, of how many things people cram into

a life time when I’m still figuring out how to survive a single day.

How on earth a person can hold down 100 jobs simultaneously

whilst becoming a mountain-climber and international Solkattu

performer, whilst winning every game of chess and cooking

Pigs Blood Cake? In a bain-marie, I’ll never know.”

“Dear Ms. Lucano, I can’t send you a photo (I detest how I look and

that seems to worsen with every year, can I wear an Animegao mask? Is

that cultural-appropriation? I have stopped wearing Kimonos just incase-

Or send you a shot of my toy kermit? If that won’t suffice, perhaps my otter? They

smile far more convincingly than I ever could)

and whilst we’re on the subject, you didn’t receive

a bio from me because I haven’t yet mastered

underwater hockey, nor hold down 100 jobs, nor mother

to Monozygotic twins, candidate for a double-PhD in Fisheries Science and Puppetry

and sometimes? Honestly Ms. Lucano?

It’s pretty hard to complete the short list I have, I tend not to have energy afterward to

run in helium with pink-cheeked athletes before

sitting down to a light supper of Beet Carpaccio with avocado & chia (seeds again)

with 50 extraordinary adoring friends who collectively hold

2000 degrees + jointly own a Moose milk farm

I’ll be lucky if I finish that third Nordic noir novella, before the library wants it back

though I am still smarting over the ending of Killing Eve

you know they bury their gays, right? Everywhere. They’re literally

sticking out of the ground, arms, legs, heart muscles. Just look around in

your lunch break if you can.”

“Ms. Lucano, I’m gay too by the way, and play the piano (badly) you can add that

alongside ‘likes depression-era glass’ and ‘tries to do her best’

‘Winner of the Karaoke Dance Off  (feat. Idris Elba & Anderson. Paak)

(nobody filmed it, which was a really good thing, thank you for the nineties)

I really don’t have much else, spending my years trying to survive

I’m not accomplished, I get really happy when someone treats me well

and the Madonna Lilly picks my yard to grow in

there’s just nothing EXCEPTIONAL unless you include

the giant tadpole growing in my

bathtub? Then I’m afraid that’s it, so

just put: “Survived thus far” and a blurred photo of

rain. Please. Oh. Sorry for talking

about myself so much. How are your

bunions? Sincerely Yours, Miss Daquin.

6 Replies to “Survived thus far (or, on compiling a biography of useless, oft pretentious information)”

  1. I laughed out loud (see, no mere “LOL” [reference to your Borderless piece]) and am still grinning (no emoji, either). This is wonderful, and so, so understood. Back in the days of Personal Adds, I could never come up with one that I could stand the thought of it ever seeing the light of day (The same would be true if I ever thought of getting on one of those dating apps – No Way!), and just doing the blurb that goes with my submissions on Brave and Reckless was a torment.

  2. Here is my version, but yours is infinitely more powerful. I loved it even more the second time I read it. Frigging fantastic writing.

  3. I have no word for how glorious this is. Maybe two: Mic drop. 😁

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