How to build your biography was not on the top of some of your “to do” lists apparently. That is what I learned recently when asked on my Face Book Writers page if you were interested in writing your own biography. Maybe some of you would rather just read about me as my story unfolds. Both options are available to all, and thank you for your interest, whatever your reasons are.
When pondering how to write this biography, in order to set goals, a visit to my recent past helped. Since this information is so far out ahead of us in my biography, instead of making you wait a year, here is what has occurred in my recent future, and has led up to my decision to write about my life.
Seventeen Years Ago
In 1997, when I was 46 years old, after moving to a home site to prove up on just ten miles North of a little town named Nenana in Alaska, I needed to earn money. Job prospects seemed pretty dim at that time, so for me, opening my own business seemed to be the way to go. The Nenana Messenger, an advertising flier, started off in May of that year as a one-sided sheet of Solar Yellow 8 1/2″ by 11″ paper.
With my love of graphic arts and quite a few years of sales experience, and a mock-up in hand, I went to as many businesses as were visible to sell some advertising. It took a few months, but eventually, the most hospitable businesses were on board for long-term advertising in the weekly sales flier The first advertiser was Nenana Heating. Dave Shaw whittled my fees down to a scant $7.50 a week, but part of our agreement was that he had to be in every issue, non-stop. He pretty much set the rates. I pretty much ensured that my sales visits were minimal.
After that, Dave’s other business run by he and wife Nancy came on board. So we had the A-Frame Chevron station and mini-mart Nenana. Next, Nenana Laundromat’s Jack Coghill opted in, then the other Chevron stations down the road, Cantwell Chevron and Healy RV Chevron. Then Marilyn at Coghill’s General Store joined in. There were many other once in a while advertisers through the years, even Alaska Communications System, a huge corporation, started running full page ads.
By the end of 2006, nine years later, although two of the Chevron stations no longer appeared, there were eight regular advertisers who were the mainstay for the small publication which had morphed early on from a small one page advertising flier to a six-page Tabloid size,11″x17″, newspaper. It looked like the business was going to succeed at last.
It probably would have, were it not for the head-on collision that Editor Diane and husband Gene walked away from the day before Halloween 2006, way far away on their way home from Dawson, Canada after a Lions Club joint district meeting. The accident, even though we all walked away from it, caused lots of physical injuries involving muscles and nerves for both of us. The next year was spent driving back and forth the 60 miles from Nenana to Fairbanks and back for therapy appointments several days a week.
Even with lots of help from their daughter, who lived with them at the time, the newspaper was just too much, and we closed the doors in May, 2007, ten years after The Nenana Messenger started.
Seven Years Ago
So now what was I to do to earn a living? For a nominal monthly fee, there was a company that professed to make millionaires of common folk like you and I. My sponsor hired an online marketing expert to teach us how to learn our craft. He was good. Really good. He and I started communicating away from that multiple level marketing company and decided to run a website together. I would be the day to day operator, and he would put together and maintain the website. I already knew how to put together a website and maintain it, as he had taught me, but from running the Messenger, I knew that trying to do all the tasks at a business is just too much for one person.
For about two years we worked on The Alaska News, an online newspaper. In order to produce multiple articles each day, we lost the personal touches and topics that had made the Messenger a newspaper that locals would read.
Two Years Ago
Next in my life is an extremely sensitive topic. Mental illness. Depression. Severe. In October of 2011, thinking that there may be more naturopathic ways to limit my depressive episodes, I quit taking my anti-depressant medication. Things were going along pretty good until the following spring.
Thinking the over-the-counter brain supplements had gotten my brain all healthy again, I quit taking them. After over-reacting to a school incident, I reached my breaking point, unable to make any decisions on why, how, or what would make the depression and thoughts of wanting to die go away, I asked to go to the emergency room. The doctor prescribed a stop-gap calming drug and we set up an appointment with a psychiatrist and also with a naturopathic physician.
After one appointment with the psychiatrist, there was an appointment with the naturopathic physician, and eventually got me back on the over-the-counter supplements. In my depressed state, I couldn’t even figure out that’s what would help. And it did help, but taking pills every three hours 24/7 was difficult, and if even one dose was missed, I was back thinking about flying off the balcony. We were living in Hawaii by then, having moved from Nenana, Alaska in October, 2013.
Six Months Ago
Who in their right mind would want to die in that wonderful climate and friendly community. But I wasn’t in my right mind, but I had the presence to find a physician, tried about four different anti-depressants that did not work correctly. I came to the conclusion that the anti-depressant that I had been one two years before was the only one that would work for me. I went back on that same anti-depressant It worked, it still works, and here I am, writing and painting and enjoying life again.
I believe that that particular anti-depressant changed the make-up of my brain chemistry permanently. I believe that I will have to stay on it the rest of my life. God, please help me if it ever quits working for me. This anti-depressant has become very controversial and class-action lawsuits have already started.
As long as the medicine is working, I will continue with my goals. After much thought and goal setting and reviewing old goals, I knew exactly what would be successful for me. I will write my life story. And so the story begins.
Please stay with me as I write. I will help you figure out how to write your story if you want, and will also be asking for help on editing excerpts from my writing as we go. The excerpts will not be posted publicly. You will have to opt-in to private messages from me. That will be available as soon as I figure out how to do that.
What will show here on the public website will be suggestions on how to go about writing and publishing your life story. If you have not already, opt-in to my Face Book Page, Diane Neill Jensen, Writer, where you will be informed when the next how-to articles are published. The opt-in for the sneak peeks at my life story will be here on DianeNeillJensen.com soon.
Please comment on this post, at least say if you read it.