my bio

here’s the long version of the bio i wrote for the sxsw book:

In no particular order, Alison Headley has had the following jobs: waitress, web designer, photographer, secretary, babysitter, jewelry designer, seamstress, bartender, golf course builder, cashier, technical writer, maid, hostess and copy editor.  She has owned one dog, lived in two cities, driven three cars, occupied four apartments, had five hair colors, and visited six foreign countries.  Her college degree in creative writing has yet to be very useful, but sure was a lot of fun to earn.  She has two tattoos and ten piercings, and has never, ever eaten an olive. She wishes she were six feet tall.

a list

of things ryan has watched on television while, next to him on the couch, i sleep as though i am dead:

a dave chapelle standup routine
my so-called life
slc punk!
when harry met sally
garden state

sxsw made me tired.

what’s your expertise?

tuesday night at sxsw, i wandered around bruce sterling’s party rather aimlessly.  i’d started out giving michael a fake tour of the house, describing everything to him as though i lived there.

“here’s my kitchen.  we eat breakfast here sometimes.”
“that’s not usually where i keep the garbage can.”
“my stove.  i used to have this plastic tupperware box to keep sandwich bread in.  one time i forgot that the stove was still hot, and i put the box lid on it by mistake.  there was melted plastic all over the place!”

in the living room we flipped through a book entitled why paint cats: the ethics of feline aesthetics.  “cats aren’t really my thing,” i said.  “someone gave it to me as a gift.”  michael and i agreed that why paint cats was a book we’d both want to own as a bizarre conversation piece, but we wouldn’t pay money for it.

as people do at parties, we eventually went our separate ways.  michael wandered off somewhere, and i went out to the front porch.  there were too many people there–enough to cause the kind of loneliness that’s sometimes worse than the alone kind.  i ran into molly, and we talked for a few minutes (she has an awesome green leather jacket which is the complete opposite of my awesome green leather jacket).  “can i ask you a question?” she said.

“sure,” i said.

“it’s a personal question, it’s not web-related.”


“what’s one thing you know a lot about that nobody ever asks you about?”

“oh!” i said, surprised.  i’d been expecting the worst, as i do whenever someone asks for permission to ask me something.  but it was an interesting question, one i’d not thought about before.  i was quiet for a moment.

molly smiled.  “i like this question because everyone has to think about it before they answer, and every time someone answers it i learn something new.”

“it’s a good question,” i said.  “i guess it’d be the x-files, but more specifically x-files screenwriters.  sometimes i can tell who wrote an episode just by watching it.  also abstract expressionism, particularly the career of philip guston.”

molly was so excited about my answers to the question that i got excited about it, too, and after we talked about screenwriting for a minute, she and ari and i asked some other people the question:

ari:  navajo indians
colin:  being the child of hippies
jeff:  making spaghetti sauce while watching mafia films.
kevin:  said he would think about it.  may still be thinking about it.
molly:  urban planning in germany in the 1920s
nick:  skateboarding
rusty:  aerodynamics
zack:  12th and 13th century mongolian history

i was surprised and delighted by every answer we received.  i’d forgotten that people are three-dimensional that way.

i spend most of my time at home or at work.  when i’m at home i read or make jewelry or do stuff on the internet, and there’s not a lot of human interaction.  when i’m working at the restaurant, i talk to customers or the other waiters.  i’ve known most of the waiters for a long time, and i love them dearly, but it’s more a function of solidarity than of common interests.  as much as i love my coworkers, i don’t feel like they understand much of what i say.  i self-censor a lot.

as a direct result of these things, i don’t feel like i belong anywhere.  of late i’ve started to lose valuable parts of myself that don’t really have a place in my everyday life.  that’s why sxsw this year made me so happy.  i’d forgotten that i can be smart and funny and well-read and interesting.  i’d forgotten that there are people like me who know what i mean and get my jokes.  i’d forgotten that i’m three-dimensional, too.

yesterday, finally, i applied for a job.