‘Getting to know you, getting to know lots about you’

I recently got asked to write a short bio about myself for the inter-company e-newsletter at The City Wire, which is the online news publication I write for now. Considering I have been known to write entire websites for clients in a day and have written news stories that are anywhere from 300 words to 2,000 words with little trouble, one would think writing my own bio would be a piece of cake. After all, I don’t even have to interview myself, right? (If I did, that would be kind of lame but an interesting conversation).

The truth is, even those of us who have a blog (we’re considered narcissistic) have a hard time writing about ourselves. I think part of it is the pressure to make sure we say the important stuff. Or perhaps it’s an inner feeling that people don’t want to hear the mundane details of our personal history. There’s also the feeling like realizing that a bio doesn’t let you get to “know” the person. It lets you know a bunch of random facts about the person, don’t you think? I also think it’s possible, however, to know a person and not know certain facts about them.

Either way, that’s enough philosophy. Now for some fun. I couldn’t decide how to format the TCW bio so I went with a mix of serious but light. What I decided to not do, but I will do here, is share some random facts about me:

  • I don’t care for cake donuts unless they are some kind of fruit flavor like cherry, orange or blueberry.
  • One of the reasons I share so much about my pets on Facebook is to show that rescue animals can find good homes and can succeed.
  • I have four auto-immune diseases and a major birth defect yet I’ve never had strep throat or a blood nose (the idea of either kinda freaks me out).
  • The only imaginary friend I remember from my childhood is a cat named Skinny. I want to write a children’s book about Skinny someday soon. Very soon.
  • My email gingerbreadnewslady is derived from combining pieces from two different Yahoo IDs I once had (both have since been deleted).
  • I used to be able to touch my elbow to my toes when my legs were straight out in front of me. It was the only part of the President’s Challenge in PE class that I was successful at doing.
  • I at one time wished there was a third gender so that I could have another sibling but the balance between boys and girls in my family would not be disturbed.
  • I’ve totaled three cars but never had a speeding ticket.
  • The only parking ticket I’ve ever received was for parking in handicapped parking. My placard had fallen down on the dashboard.
  • Writing in blue ink agitates me if it’s more than filling out a form or something.
  • I get violently ill if I eat anything that has been cooked on cast iron.
  • When I was in college, I often had insomnia and ended up watching CHiPS almost every morning around 3 a.m. Love me some Pancho!
  • One of my first business ventures was to sell roly polys.
  • When I was a kid, I would read by the light of a street lamp that shone in my window after I was supposed to be asleep.
  • If I ever get a smokey gray male cat, I want to name it Bert after the chimney sweep in Mary Poppins.
OK, that’s enough. In case you’re curious about the bio for The City Wire, here it is:


Jamie Smith

The hardest assignment for any writer, I think, is when they have to write about themselves.
So who am I? That’s probably a question for a therapist but I’ll try to answer it here.

First, let’s get a few details out of the way. I often tell folks that I grew up in Wichita, Kan., but became a grownup in Northwest Arkansas. I graduated from John Brown University with a degree in journalism in 2000 and except for 18 months spent in Oklahoma after graduation, I’ve lived in NWA ever since.

Most of my time was spent in Bentonville, where I worked as a reporter for a local newspaper covering the education beat. I’m now full-time self-employed and own a writing services business named Jamie’s Notebook. I’m also obviously a very active member of the team at The City Wire. I love having the best of both worlds in that I’m able to do journalism again but also work from home.

So where is home? My husband John and I bought our first home in Elkins at the end of last year. We love our small community and are enjoying raising our “fur kids” together. We have two cats and two dogs, all rescues. Anyone who knows me hears a lot about my animals!

Speaking of family, I’m also a proud aunt to twin nieces and their newborn baby brother. My brother and his wife live in Denver so I’m “aunting” from about 12 hours away. My parents still live in Wichita.

I’m pretty sure this is the place in the bio where we’re supposed to talk about our hobbies. I have written a lot of bios, a lot of “about us” pages for websites.  Talking about hobbies always seems, well, strained. It’s talked about in terms of what the person does “in her spare time.” My question is, what spare time? Is spare time like spare change that you just find lying around and hope that you have enough of it to do something useful with it?

A year or so ago, I decided to change my attitude about spare time. I decided it was important to mental, emotional and even physical health to do things I enjoy. I call it taking a Sabbath, but I don’t mean that sacrilegiously. Sabbaths are a time to rest, to restore. That’s what I get from my hobbies, which include personal blogging and scrapbooking. I now purposefully take time to participate in my hobbies and make time for them. There’s nothing spare about it.

Both hobbies are a great form of self-expression. Blogging is a way for me to write for me, to get my thoughts out on my own terms. Most bloggers have a direct focus for their blog but mine is varied. JamiesThots.com is where I talk about being a “wife, furbaby momma, writer and a grateful believer in Jesus Christ.” I also broach issues like living a lifetime with a disability, spiritual abuse and a few recipes, too.

Scrapbooking is a tactile way to celebrate all parts of life and it makes for great gifts for family, too.

I call scrapbooking my green eggs and ham hobby because I always thought I would hate it (you really don’t want me messing with adhesives).
Once I tried it, I was hooked. I’ve created books about trips, my first 30 years, life with my husband and my pets. My nieces and nephew are also getting their own books.

Well that’s enough about me, what about you? I look forward to meeting more of The City Wire family!

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