Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
(on a postcard)

It's a Book!


Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard) started five years ago at a performance arts festival. Between then and now, I wrote over 300 postcard life stories, condensing over 10,000 years of life. Now it's a book. You can get it directly from Mud Luscious or from Amazon. Unfortunately, I couldn't publish everybody's postcard life story in the book or it would have come in around 700 pages. So the book is a selection from the project. Here's the Table of Contents: #45 Adam Robinson, #46 Karen Lillis, #52 Josh Maday, #49 Red Delicious Apple, #66 Blake Butler, #67 G, #70 Elizabeth Ellen, #75 Moose the Cat, #76 Deborah Ling, #91 Kathryn Jachowski, #98 Chair, #100 Jonathon Bender, #101 Elizabeth Crane, #102 Shanti Perez, #103 Rachel Joy, #111 Aaron Goolsby, #114 Sammy the Dog, #117 Baby C, #118 Nate Jackson, #125 J, #129 Matt Bell, #130 El Duque the Cat, #131 Tao Lin, #133 Rahne Alexander, #137 Rhode Island Red, #141 Steve Katz, #149 Christopher Douglas Bowles, #158 Patrick King, #161 L, #166 Beowulf the Cat, #167 Ken Baumann, #170 T-Shirt, #176 Cyndy Taylor, #184 Stephanie Barber, #188 R, #195 Kaya Larsen, #197 A. Jarrell Hayes, #199 Luca Dipierro, #200 Grendel the Cat, #209 Julie Riso, #210 F, #221 Effie Gross, #228 Nick Kane, #240 Monte Riek, #242 N, #249 Umbrella Cover, #255 Andy Devine, #263 Edgar Allan Poe, #265 Abby the Horse, #267 Michael Kimball, #280 Brin-Jonathan Butler, #282 Robin Black, #288 Stephen Graham Jones, #290 Catherine Lacey, #302 John Quincy Adams, #304 Shannon Sullivan, #307 Soap.
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The Bomb Interview: My Mind Zooming In



My friend and genius Adam Robinson interviewed me about Us for Bomb. He asks me some impossible questions and I tell him what I'd be doing if I wasn't writing novels.
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The 1-Hour MFA (in fiction)

I'm doing my 1-Hour MFA (in fiction) talk at Conversations and Connections: Practical Advice on Writing, which is in DC on April 16. My talk is at 3:45, but there's a whole day of great people talking about writing--including Steve Almond, Rae Bryant, Matt Bell, Amber Sparks, Tara Laskowski, Adam Robinson, Mike Young, Susan Muaddi-Darraj, Lalita Noronha, Eugenia Kim, Marita Golden, Dan Brady, Will Grofic, Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson, Cathy Alter, Matt Kirkpatrick, Randall Brown, Steve Himmer, Dylan Landis, Eric Goodman, Janice Shapiro, Robin Black, Leslie Pietrzyk, Mark Drew, Mark Cugini, Reb Livingson, Kim Kupperman, Dan Cafaro, Molly Gaudry, Erin Fitzgerald, Susan McCallum Smith, and Dave Housley.
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Smile Politely, Andy Devine

There's a nice conversation with and around Andy Devine and his national tour, Being Andy Devine, at Smile Politely. It includes his publisher, Adam Robinson, his editor (me), as well as writer Aaron Burch, the host of Stories & Beer, where Andy Devine will be reading on November 14th. At the same time on the same day, November 14th, Andy Devine will also be reading at the Soda Series in NYC, with Mairéad Byrne, Daniel Groves, Stephanie Barber, and Adam Robinson.

Plus, there's a really nice post by Tom DeBeauchamp about reading Andy Devine's novel, Apartment City, over at Htmlgiant.
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Four Years of Genius


November marks the four year anniversary of Publishing Genius. To celebrate the head genius, Adam Robinson, has posted a selection from Andy Devine's "A Grammar for Fiction Writers" at Everyday Genius.
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Being Andy Devine

























Being Andy Devine (BAD), the national book tour for Andy Devine's first book, WORDS, is underway. The next stop is Philadelphia, October 16, 7pm, Fergie's Pub, which is 1214 Sansom--with Andy Devine, Jamie Gaughran-Perez, James Belflower, Kate Greenstreet, Joe Hall, Steven Karl, Lauren Bender, Dan Magers, Adam Robinson, and Ben Segal.
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Dear Everybody @ HtmlGiant



Dear Everybody and Zombies
at HtmlGiant.
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Inanimate Object Week: #219 Cubicle Wall (as written by Adam Robinson

At about three o'clock Central time, the cubicle wall was born at average height. The cubicle wall was happy about this, but before long he was laid flat and wrapped in cardboard. He was stacked somewhere. (He didn't know where because he couldn't see on account of the box he was in and also because he didn't have eyes or a brain.) He stayed there for several long days. He started to cry through his fabric. Then, earless, he heard a truck and felt himself lifted onto it. There was a rumbling. In the truck he traveled until the truck stopped, whereupon the cubicle wall was unloaded. He was elated when the box was peeled away and he was fastened to some other beige cubicle walls in the form of a box. Together with a computer and some pens they became a community. A phone came along and joined the group. The computer was friendly, but the pens were often short. The phone had a whiney ring. One day, and then repeatedly every weekday for three years, a good looking young man came and sat in front of the beige cubicle wall. He touched the computer, the phone and the pens. He rarely touched the cubicle wall except, occasionally, to stick some sheet of paper to it with a pin. The puncture didn't hurt nearly as bad as the feeling of being ignored. The young man seemed not to care about the cubicle wall. It was even as if the cubicle wall represented something hateful to the young man, or if not hateful, at least unbearably mundane. But the cubicle wall was resolute. He would be there for the young man tomorrow, too, and the next day, and the day after that. Oh yes, the cubicle wall would remain a presence in that young man’s life for many long years.

[Note: Adam Robinson's postcard life story is here.]
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Mud Luscious Eleven

There's a great issue of Mud Luscious (#11) up with incredible work by Amelia Gray, Rachel Glaser, Peter Markus, Robert Lopez, Scott Garson, Joanna Ruocco, Alissa Nutting, Ken Sparling, Roy Kesey, Lily Hoang, Aaron Burch, Jac Jemc, James Kaelan, Adam Robinson, James Chapman, Ted Pelton, and Dawn Raffel. My piece is from How Much of Us There Was, which comes out later this fall with Tyrant Books.
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I Don't Actually Mention Michael Jackson

I have an interview with Adam Robinson up at The Faster Times. We talk about his new book, Adam Robison and Other Poems, dopplegangers, consciousness, Judas Priest, and the index.

More interviews @ The Faster Times: Gary Lutz, Blake Butler, Rachel Sherman, Laura van den Berg, Ben Tanzer, Brian Evenson, Robert Lopez, Samuel Ligon, Dylan Landis, Joseph Young, Andrew Porter, Padgett Powell, Zachary German, Christopher Higgs, Sam Lipsyte, Dawn Raffel.
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Words, Andy Devine

Andy Devine started as my Vegas name back in 2000 and then it evolved into a pseudonym that I've been using for conceptual writing for the last 10 years. It's always been a kind of open secret, so it seems a little silly to be doing this reveal, but I don't want anybody to feel duped. I want everybody to be in on it. Andy Devine's first book, WORDS, will be published by the great Publishing Genius next month.
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#45 The Awesome Adam Robinson: New and Improved

Adam Robinson has lived in a bunch of different cities, but that probably doesn’t matter. His childhood was not notable except for the fact that he often ate lunch in a bathroom stall during his junior year of high school and except for all of the God stuff that he grew up with. He went to a Christian college, but only because his brother, his almost Irish twin, did. The Christian college was awesome for Adam (though it must be noted that this word often accompanies descriptions of religious experiences) and it was there that he learned that life is really terrible unless everybody forgives each other. Adam continues to be a Christian in spite of the fact that Martin Luther consummated his marriage to Katherine von Bora in front of his friends (or, possibly, because of this fact; it isn’t clear). Said another way, Adam is a dark and sad Christian like St. Paul. Also, once, Adam hid out all night in a porta potty at an amusement park so that he could see some bands that he really wanted to see the next day. The next day, a family he kind of knew gave him a washcloth so he could take a shower. Now Adam works as a technology buyer for an asset management company, but that doesn’t really describe him. It isn’t who he is. He is a guitar player for Sweatpants and the publisher of Publishing Genius and a writer of poems and stories and songs, but he cannot be fully understood in these terms either. It is better to think of Adam in terms of the time he jumped out of a speeding boat (that he was driving) and crashed it. The boat didn’t sink and Adam didn’t drown. The boat got stuck in some seaweed and Adam swam back to shore. Adam made a similar jump the time that he left behind his life in Milwaukee and ran away to Baltimore with Stephanie Barber, who is awesome (like Christianity, but in a different way). The experience was panicked and great. Another time, Adam was attacked while waiting for the bus and hit over the head with a bottle, but the attackers escaped with nothing of Adam's and Adam ended up with a bloody story to tell. One thing that should be learned from this: You cannot stop Adam Robinson. Also, it should be noted that the farthest Adam has walked at one time is 28 miles and
the farthest he has ridden a bicycle is 34 miles. He could go farther, though. He will go farther. In fact, there he goes now.

[Update: Adam Robinson's first book, Adam Robison and Other Poems is now available for pre-order from Narrow House. Plus, he is the genius behind Publishing Genius--short, massive books since 2006.]
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Adam Robinson Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard): #219 Cubicle Wall

At about three o'clock Central time, the cubicle wall was born at average height. The cubicle wall was happy about this, but before long he was laid flat and wrapped in cardboard. He was stacked somewhere. (He didn't know where because he couldn't see on account of the box he was in and also because he didn't have eyes or a brain.) He stayed there for several long days. He started to cry through his fabric. Then, earless, he heard a truck and felt himself lifted onto it. There was a rumbling. In the truck he traveled until the truck stopped, whereupon the cubicle wall was unloaded. He was elated when the box was peeled away and he was fastened to some other beige cubicle walls in the form of a box. Together with a computer and some pens they became a community. A phone came along and joined the group. The computer was friendly, but the pens were often short. The phone had a whiney ring. One day, and then repeatedly every weekday for three years, a good looking young man came and sat in front of the beige cubicle wall. He touched the computer, the phone and the pens. He rarely touched the cubicle wall except, occasionally, to stick some sheet of paper to it with a pin. The puncture didn't hurt nearly as bad as the feeling of being ignored. The young man seemed not to care about the cubicle wall. It was even as if the cubicle wall represented something hateful to the young man, or if not hateful, at least unbearably mundane. But the cubicle wall was resolute. He would be there for the young man tomorrow, too, and the next day, and the day after that. Oh yes, the cubicle wall would remain a presence in that young man’s life for many long years.

[Note: Adam Robinson's postcard life story is here.]
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#45 The Awesome Adam Robinson: A New and Improved Version

Adam Robinson has lived in a bunch of different cities, but that probably doesn’t matter. His childhood was not notable except for the fact that he often ate lunch in a bathroom stall during his junior year of high school and except for all of the God stuff that he grew up with. He went to a Christian college, but only because his brother, his Irish twin, did. The Christian college was awesome for Adam (though it must be noted that this word often accompanies descriptions of religious experiences) and it was there that he learned that life is really terrible unless everybody forgives each other. Adam continues to be a Christian in spite of the fact that Martin Luther consummated his marriage to Katherine von Bora in front of his friends (or, possibly, because of this fact; it isn’t clear). Said another way, Adam is a dark and sad Christian like St. Paul. Now Adam works as a technology buyer for an asset management company, but that doesn’t really describe him. It isn’t who he is. He is a guitar player for Sweatpants and the publisher of Publishing Genius and a writer of poems and stories and songs, but he cannot be fully understood in these terms either. It is better to think of Adam in terms of the time he jumped out of a speeding boat (that he was driving) and crashed it. The boat didn’t sink and Adam didn’t drown. The boat got stuck in some seaweed and Adam swam back to shore. Adam made a similar jump the time that he left behind his life in Milwaukee and ran away to Baltimore with Stephanie Barber, who is awesome (like Christianity, but in a different way). The experience was panicked and great. Another time, Adam was attacked while waiting for the bus and hit over the head with a bottle, but the attackers escaped with nothing of Adam's and Adam ended up with a bloody story to tell. One thing that should be learned from this: You cannot stop Adam Robinson. Also, it should be noted that the farthest Adam has walked at one time is 28 miles and
the farthest he has ridden a bicycle is 34 miles. He could go farther, though. He will go farther. In fact, there he goes now.

[Update: Adam Robinson's first book, Adam Robison and Other Poems can be pre-ordered here. Plus, there's a little video I shot called Poem Battling Flowers, which is different than any other reading you've ever seen.]

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Barrelhouse Mixtape: Indie Lit in Charm City

Barrelhouse Magazine just put up its first Mixtape, which focuses on indie lit in Baltimore. I talk with them about Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard), kind of the long version of the NPR interview. There's also Publishing Genius, Adam Robinson, on IsReads. Plus, there's a Josh Maday poem and there's Mike Ingram reading the postcard life story of Barrelhouse Magazine, which is also here. Nice.
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All Kinds of Nice Things About Everyday Genius

So I was guest-editing Everyday Genius for the month of August and I ended up with so much genius that the genius himself, Adam Robinson, has let me stay on through a good part of September. And then Matt Bell went and said all kinds of nice things about said editing, including this: "Together, these stories, poems, and Venn diagrams comprise what is certainly one of the best stretches of publication by any magazine, online or off."

Of course, the real genius is constituted by the writers: Stephen Graham Jones, David McLendon, Sean Lovelace, Peter Markus, Gregory Luce, Sherrie Flick, Giancarlo DiTrapano, Stacy Muszynski, Randall Brown, Ken Baumann, Robert Lopez, Gena Mohwish, Elizabeth Ellen, Blake Butler, Ingrid Burrington, Adam Robison, Barry Graham, Jane Hammons, Luca Dipierro, Sasha Fletcher, Matt Bell, Kim Chinquee, Catherine Moran, Andy Devine, J.A. Pak, Tria Andrews, Aaron Burch, Amelia Gray, and Sam Pink.
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#45 Adam Robinson, Publishing Genius: A New and Improved Version

Adam Robinson has lived in a bunch of different cities, but that probably doesn’t matter. His childhood was not notable except for the fact that he often ate lunch in a bathroom stall during his junior year of high school and except for all of the God stuff that he grew up with. He went to a Christian college, but only because his brother, his Irish twin, did. The Christian college was awesome for Adam (though it must be noted that this word often accompanies descriptions of religious experiences) and it was there that he learned that life is really terrible unless everybody forgives each other. Adam continues to be a Christian in spite of the fact that Martin Luther consummated his marriage to Katherine von Bora in front of his friends (or, possibly, because of this fact; it isn’t clear). Said another way, Adam is a dark and sad Christian like St. Paul. Now Adam works as a technology buyer for an asset management company, but that doesn’t really describe him. It isn’t who he is. He is a guitar player for Sweatpants and the publisher of Publishing Genius and a writer of poems and stories and songs, but he cannot be fully understood in these terms either. It is better to think of Adam in terms of the time he jumped out of a speeding boat (that he was driving) and crashed it. The boat didn’t sink and Adam didn’t drown. The boat got stuck in some seaweed and Adam swam back to shore. Adam made a similar jump the time that he left behind his life in Milwaukee and ran away to Baltimore with Stephanie Barber, who is awesome (like Christianity, but in a different way). The experience was panicked and great. Another time, Adam was attacked while waiting for the bus and hit over the head with a bottle, but the attackers escaped with nothing of Adam's and Adam ended up with a bloody story to tell. One thing that should be learned from this: You cannot stop Adam Robinson. Also, it should be noted that the farthest Adam has walked at one time is 28 miles and
the farthest he has ridden a bicycle is 34 miles. He could go farther, though. He will go farther. In fact, there he goes now.

[Update: Adam Robinson has always insisted that Publishing Genius is transitive, but it's become clear that the Genius also refers to Adam. There's a great article on Adam's publishing genius in Inside Higher Ed and there's another one on his genius idea of an outdoor journal IsReads in Poets&Writers.]

A great piece of Adam's writing.
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Everyday Genius & Andy Devine

I'm guest-editing Everyday Genius for the month of August. Everyday Genius is the curious magazine arm of Adam Robinson's Publishing Genius Press. Today is Amelia Gray Day. Yesterday was a Sam Pinkism. Tomorrow and the next day and the next will be bits of genius from Ingrid Burrington, Aaron Burch, and Tria Andrews. The coming weeks will be filled with Kim Chinquee, Blake Butler, and the mysterious Andy Devine (speaking of, there's an incredible interview with Andy Devine at elimae; the brilliant Josh Maday asks the great questions).
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The Dollar Store Tour and I Will Smash You

I have two events coming up that I've been looking forward to for a while:
(1) The Dollar Store Reading on July 11th @ 730pm @ The Lof/t.
(2) Smashing for Success on July 18th @ 2pm @ the Contemporary Museum.
I hope to see you there or there.
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A Helluva Short Story

Dan Wickett said nice things about short stories for the whole month of May at Emerging Writers Network and one of the last entries for short story month was this thing I put together called, "Some of the Letters That Were Cut, but That Tell Even More of the Story of Jonathon Bender, Weatherman (b. 1967 - d. 1999)," which Dan calls a "helluva short story." The chapbook short story sold out at ML Press before it was officially published and then Powell's had a few copies, but those are gone now too. Luckily, the great Adam Robinson will be republishing it this September as part of Publishing Genius series, This PDF Chapbook.
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#45 The Awesome Adam Robinson: A New and Improved Version

Adam Robinson has lived in a bunch of different cities, but that probably doesn’t matter. His childhood was not notable except for the fact that he often ate lunch in a bathroom stall during his junior year of high school and except for all of the God stuff that he grew up with. He went to a Christian college, but only because his brother, his Irish twin, did. The Christian college was awesome for Adam (though it must be noted that this word often accompanies descriptions of religious experiences) and it was there that he learned that life is really terrible unless everybody forgives each other. Adam continues to be a Christian in spite of the fact that Martin Luther consummated his marriage to Katherine von Bora in front of his friends (or, possibly, because of this fact; it isn’t clear). Said another way, Adam is a dark and sad Christian like St. Paul. Now Adam works as a technology buyer for an asset management company, but that doesn’t really describe him. It isn’t who he is. He is a guitar player for Sweatpants and the publisher of Publishing Genius and a writer of poems and stories and songs, but he cannot be fully understood in these terms either. It is better to think of Adam in terms of the time he jumped out of a speeding boat (that he was driving) and crashed it. The boat didn’t sink and Adam didn’t drown. The boat got stuck in some seaweed and Adam swam back to shore. Adam made a similar jump the time that he left behind his life in Milwaukee and ran away to Baltimore with Stephanie Barber, who is awesome (like Christianity, but in a different way). The experience was panicked and great. Another time, Adam was attacked while waiting for the bus and hit over the head with a bottle, but the attackers escaped with nothing of Adam's and Adam ended up with a bloody story to tell. One thing that should be learned from this: You cannot stop Adam Robinson. Also, it should be noted that the farthest Adam has walked at one time is 28 miles and
the farthest he has ridden a bicycle is 34 miles. He could go farther, though. He will go farther. In fact, there he goes now.

Adam Robinson is the genius behind Publishing Genius Press

A great piece of Adam's writing.

Also, it's his birthday today, so tell him happy birthday if you see him.
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#045 The Awesome Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson has lived in a bunch of different cities, but that probably doesn’t matter. His childhood was not notable except for all of the God stuff that he grew up with. He went to a Christian college, but only because his brother, his Irish twin, did. The Christian college was awesome for Adam (though it must be noted that this word often accompanies descriptions of religious experiences) and it was there that he learned that life is really terrible unless everybody forgives each other. Adam continues to be a Christian in spite of the fact that Martin Luther consummated his marriage to Katherine von Bora in front of his friends (or, possibly, because of this fact; it isn’t clear). Said another way, Adam is a dark and sad Christian like St. Paul. Now Adam works as a technology buyer for an asset management company, but that doesn’t really describe him. It isn’t who he is. He is a guitar player for Sweatpants and the publisher of Publishing Genius and a writer of poems and stories and songs, but he cannot be fully understood in these terms either. It is better to think of Adam in terms of the time he jumped out of a speeding boat (that he was driving) and crashed it. The boat didn’t sink and Adam didn’t drown. The boat got stuck in some seaweed and Adam swam back to shore. Adam made a similar jump when he left behind his life in Milwaukee and ran away to Baltimore with Stephanie Barber, who is awesome (like Christianity, but in a different way). The experience was panicked and great. It should also be noted that the farthest Adam has walked at one time is 28 miles and 
the farthest he has ridden a bicycle is 34 miles. He could go farther, though. He will go farther. In fact, there he goes now.

Adam Robinson and Publishing Genius
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How Much Can I Write on a Postcard?

There have been questions about how much I can write on a postcard and I usually just say, A lot. But my pal Adam Robinson asked how I was able to write all of the text from Holly Ritter's life story on a postcard and the answer is that I wrote small. Here's the proof:


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The Beginning of Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard)

My friend Adam Robinson was curating an art festival in Baltimore and he asked me if I wanted to participate. I had never done anything like that, but I told him that I could write people’s life stories. I thought it would be fun and funny and that I would write on the backs of a few postcards and that would be it.

The first postcard I wrote was for Bart O’Reilly, a painter, who quit art school in Dublin to work as an ice cream man in Ocean City, which is how he met the woman who became his wife (see Bart’s life story posted here). When I finished the postcard and looked up, a line had formed. For the rest of the night, I interviewed dozens of people and wrote each person’s life story on the back of the postcard. I did this for four hours straight without getting up out of the chair that I was sitting in. I was completely exhausted by the end. My mind was racing with the details of people’s lives and the hope that I had done their various stories justice in the space of a postcard.

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.

That’s how this started. If you would like me to write your life story (on a postcard)—and trust me, I want to—please get in touch. 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.

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