Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story on a Postcard

Writer, literary make-stuff-happen-guy, novelist (Dear Everybody, The Way the Family Got Away, How Much of Us There Was), Friend of Barrelhouse, and all around great guy Michael Kimball has started a new project that is both awesome and self-explanatory, "Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story on a Postcard."

It's simple: you talk to Michael, via email or phone or maybe even at some public art festival kinda thing and he writes your life story on the postcard. If you're cool with it, your story will also wind up on his website. Or maybe in a book, which will be published by Black Arrow Press in 2009.

Brilliant, simple, and fascinating, just like real life, because, duh, it is.

Here's what Michael says about the process:

"I was astounded by what people told me, the secrets and the difficulties, the pain and wonder and hope that they revealed. People told me about being in jail, about not being able to have children (and only wanting children because of the infertility), about having too many boyfriends, about computer hacking, about keeping it a secret that they like doing homework, about meeting their future wife while working abroad selling ice cream at a seaside boardwalk, about moving to a city because they liked a particular diner, about leaving their birth country when they were 5 years old and continuing to try to escape wherever they lived, about saying their favorite color is green even though it isn’t, and about feeling responsible for their adopted brother being institutionalized."

Here's a little real live life, specifically that of Joseph Young, who many of you may recognize as a very talented flash fiction writer in his own right:

"Joe Young has traveled back and forth between Kalamazoo and San Francisco and San Francisco and Baltimore for most of his life. This wanderlust has always been a part of Joe’s life. He is most at home not being at home—that is, he is most at home being somewhere else. This sense of home has driven Joe to hitchhike across the country and to drive drive-away cars to anywhere. Once, he died on the railroad tracks in Mexico, though the significance of this event is obscure. Now he is alive again and becoming more comfortable with being at home, as well as becoming more comfortable with himself. While at home, he writes about art and writes what he describes as tiny stories that pop out of his head with no preconceived notion attached to them. He likes the sustained, intense concentration that the tiny stories require and the white space that contains the tiny stories. He likes the miles that he has traveled and the way that that distance surrounds his life."

Here's how you can get in on the action:

"If you would like me to write your life story (on a postcard)—and trust me, I want to—then send me an email (postcardlifestories@gmail.com). Tell me your name, age, where you were born, where you have lived, what you do (jobs and hobbies) or what you study (if in school) or what you want to do with your life. Tell me about any important events in your life, any life changing decisions, any strange things that have happened to you, anything that makes you particularly you. I will follow up with questions, then write up your life story, and mail you the postcard. You will be able to put it up on your refrigerator with a magnet if you want."

Visit Michael Kimball Writes Your Life on a Postcard.

1 comment:

JP said...

This reminds me of when I was an event planner for corporate events and we used to hire this guy for parties called "The 60-Second Novelist." He'd shimmy around with an old-fashioned portable typewriter, ask guests a few pointed questions, then finally spend one minute typing the life story on a half-sized notebook page.

It was pretty damn cool.

This is his site: