I was very happy to receive this mail today, because it provides a more comprehensive appreciation of the “Short Biography Course”. One must be realistic: The “Short Biography Course” consists of 9 biography assignments totalling 109 pages – it can’t cover as many facets of biographical writing as the “Comprehensive Biography Course” with its 101 biography assignments. Nevertheless, S. B. sent me the following lines:
“Dear Mr. Mäckler,
it’s been a few months since I received the last biography assignment. I continue to polish my texts on the weekends and am still in the revision phase; I also continue to add new texts, so I will still be working on my biography for some time. I’ll be happy to send you a copy as a PDF once my little biography project is complete.
In the meantime, however, I wanted to give you some timely feedback on the short biography course:
Overall, I really enjoyed the writing course. The assignments were varied with quotes, literature references, and good tips on the art of writing. The examples were practical. The questions guided me well, gave structure to my writing, and clarified in which order the work should be done. Overall, the assignments helped me a lot in finding a chronological structure for my stories.
I particularly liked the following assignments:
02 – The idea of the “memory of things”, the chronological list of events by year.
05 – Good and compact guidance on the art of writing.
07 – I liked the example very much. It has given me a new, “big picture” perspective on my own professional life.
08 – The suggestions on how to structure the biography were very inspiring.
I found the following assignments in need of improvement:
03 – In my opinion, the excursus on war and expulsion is “getting on a bit” – there are new topics at the forefront of biography writing today.
08 – I didn’t like the examples of the preface and afterword of the revenge biography at all in terms of text and content. Surely more appealing examples could be found.
I missed – maybe – breaks in the biography or unusual things like illness, accidents, dropping out; new family models like patchwork, late motherhood, single parents could enrich the sample texts.
My expectations of the biography course were fully met and even exceeded. My goal was to put my biographical stories and memories in chronological order to create an overall picture. Time-wise I didn’t manage the 8 weeks “course duration” – in addition to my full-time job – but that doesn’t matter.
I would have liked to have done more in-depth work with the memorabilia (assignment #2), but I understand that in only 8 biography assignments, not all aspects of biographical work can be covered.
Dear Mr. Mäckler, I hope that later, once I am no longer working, I will have more time to take on the comprehensive biography course.
Until then, I wish you continued success with the Biography Center and many wonderful encounters. Kind regards, S. B.”