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Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Life, the Directors Cut by Asa Maria Bradley

At a recent reading in my town, author Craig Johnson talked about how much he liked Robert Taylor’s audition for the role of Sheriff Walt Longmire in the A&E TV series based on Johnson’s Longmire novels (Viking). That is, he liked it until a breathy “Oh, my” escaped from his wife’s lips while she watched Taylor saunter across the screen. She quickly defended her reaction by describing Taylor as a taller and slightly better looking, “TV version” of her husband. (Nice save, Mrs. Johnson.)

This made me wonder what the TV/film version of me would be like. I pictured a polished version of me with better skin, thicker more lustrous hair, wearing expensive designer clothes and shoes. She would know how to walk in high heels, have an infectious tinkling laugh, and use a clever repertoire of insightful comments during conversations.

And she would look good in hats.

Later that night, I uploaded some pictures from the author event to social media and realized the edited version of my life already exists: Facebook.  

Here are some of the director choices I’ve made while presenting the Facebook version of my life:

Major Milestones:

My husband and friend arrange an amazing 40th birthday party—show pictures of guests, especially cute children of friends playing with dog.

After 40 I now spend an alarming amount of time I spend in front of the make-up mirror with tweezers—CUT!


Ziplining in Costa Rica—post photos of posting with hubby in matching helmets, include video of me whizzing down a very high line at fast speeds. 

Spending hours on toilet purging from both ends due to Costa Rican amoeba entering gastrointestinal system—Are you crazy?! CUT!

College Instructor Day Job:
Interacting with smart/clever/funny students—share quotes of tongue-in-cheek test answers, mention star students’ Ivy League acceptance, scholarships, and prestigious internships.
Grading for hours, sitting in office at 10.30 pm, shoving Dove chocolate in my mouth while mainlining Mountain Dew—Nope. CUT!
The truth is, my life appears much more interesting and fun on Facebook than what I experience every day. I’m not fabricating anything, but I choose on which scenes to focus the lens to tell my story.
In writing, we do the same thing. We select only the parts of a character’s back story that informs our reader about their goals and motivation. We show only the scenes and dialogues that propels our plot forward.
If I was a character and my life was a novel, I may include the scene of grading tons of assignments late at night to create sympathy for my character. Although, I probably would have made the chocolate stash smaller than it is in real life.

The toilet scene may be included too—a heavily edited version with a way smaller grossness factor. But the moments in front of the make-up mirror with tweezers would probably bore even the most valiant of readers.

What are some of the scenes you’ve cut from the Facebook version of your life that would work in a novel?


Asa Maria Bradley is working on a paranormal series featuring Vikings and Valkyries and their struggle to prevent Ragnarök—the god’s final battle and the end of the world. She grew up in Sweden, surrounded by Norse mythology and history apparent in archeological sites and buildings. Her essays and articles have appeared in a variety of magazines and the anthology FEMALE NOMAD AND FRIENDS: TALES OF BREAKING FREE AND BREAKING BREAD AROUND THE WORLD (Three River Press, Randomhouse). She lives in Washington State with her British husband and a used dog of indeterminate breed. Visit her at www.AsaMariaBradley.com.

1 comment:

Debra Elise said...

Asa love this, I am a heavy user of tweezers too!

I'm very choosy about what input on Facebook. Some people share waaay too much ;)