Monday, October 15, 2012

The Boring Biography

After polishing and perfecting my writing, next to creating the blurb to sell it, the most difficult thing to write is the dreaded author biography. I don’t want to bore readers with the mundane details of my very ordinary life, nor do I want to come off as being aloof and unreachable by not providing enough information. The problem is, finding the right balance.

The sad fact is, my life is really quite normal. Happily married with four boys and a dog; I’m a fulltime mom, part time chauffeur and hardly-there housekeeper. We don’t have dust bunnies in our house; we have fully grown dirt dragons, complete with wings.

My life experiences are very suburban. I might have started out on a farm but it’s not like I had to collect eggs from the chickens or anything like that. In fact, we didn’t even have chickens. I do remember confiscating my brother’s Tonka trucks to use as Barbie cars, since they were the perfect size. I also remember creating elaborate villages in the sandbox and flooding it with water to create rivers and lakes which drained as quickly as they formed.

Life as a teenager was typical. At least, I think it was. My taste in music was much to be desired. We’ll call that a blip since it improved tremendously as I matured. I had a solid group of girlfriends (who I’m happy to say I still keep in touch with), a boyfriend, and a part time job.  My biggest claim to fame was being the editor of my high school newspaper. As an adult, I can now admit I used to skip classes to work on “editing” articles. I’m surprised my teachers fell for that line. I was such a rebel – what I was really doing was reading or writing something just for me. (Sorry Mom and Dad – I did try to be a good kid most of the time.)

University followed, where I met my husband through a mutual friend, but that’s another story. Upon graduation, I didn’t find my dream job; rather I stumbled along that rocky road, taking what I could get until I wriggled my way into a fulltime writing position. It was only proposal writing, but I didn’t care because it meant I didn’t have to spend my days on the phone trying to sell somebody something. From there, I ventured into some technical writing before becoming a full time copy writer for a software company.

Then, there came the children – four in total – quite literally one after another. All boys, all very dynamic, and all somewhat demanding. To be honest, I wouldn’t change anything about them for the world – except for the asthma and allergies – that I would change if it were an option. Shortly after the arrival of the third child, we moved to the Montreal area and I decided to focus on raising my boys.

When the youngest started Kindergarten, a small void opened in my life. I decided I needed a dog, and Panda came into our lives. The problem was, she wasn’t quite enough to fill that hole, so I started writing again. The results? Remember Newvember, followed by Reflections. That’s it. That’s my life.
There are more ups and downs and bits and pieces, but essentially, these are the highlights. What it boils down to is: Jennifer Bogart lives outside of Montreal with her husband, four boys and the family pet. Not terribly exciting, but the best I can do.

I don’t have a story of success overcoming hardship and I haven’t traveled or lived in exotic places. We make our own adventures in life. Mine might seem simple, but trust me, raising a family and being a writer makes for a very busy and chaotic life.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Friends Forever

One of the primary themes running through Reflections is the connection between friends and family. The book is about how one woman lost track of her place in life and her sudden need to rediscover who she is. She does this by navigating her capricious relationships with her daughter, sister and friends.

Friends are something to be treasured forever and always. Unlike family, they don’t have to like, support or even respect you. They choose to be a part of your life and you have to choose to keep them there. It’s essential to take time for them, especially if they’re important to you. 

The older we get, the more difficult it is to hold onto those friendships from years gone by. How many of us can honestly say we’re still in touch with our first friend? I’m not talking about family friends, or cousins. I’m talking about those first companions from daycare or Kindergarten. I can’t. We moved when I was nine, and while my parents were very good at keeping track of their friends, I wasn’t.  At first there were letters, but soon those tapered off, which is to be expected as I became more engrossed with my new surroundings.

Now, my high school friends are a different story altogether. Some of us went to college/university together, we had our kids together and while we all moved away from our home town, we still managed to stay connected. Perhaps the bond between us was more mature or perhaps we were just better at holding on to what was important in our lives.

Friends come and go, as the need arises. Some stay forever and others just drift through on a passing breeze. Very few actually stick around through the best and worst of who we can be. These are the people we need to treasure. In today’s world, geography isn’t an issue. We have so many ways to find each other, to stay in touch and to communicate. Publicly or privately, it doesn’t matter. Aside from my family, who I love with all my heart, the extraordinary group of women who surround me, both far and near, will always hold a special place in my heart.