And So It Is, beauty

Personal Story in 100 Words.

July 15, 2014

Personal Story in 100 Words by Elissa Wald.*

Earlier this week, I was filling out an application for freelance work at a copywriting agency, and one of the sections said: “Tell us your personal story in 100 words.”

My answer was this:

“These are the aphorisms I live by. I wrote them all:

Suffering doesn’t build character; the resolve to wrest something redemptive from suffering is what builds character. Bitterness might be justified but it’s never attractive. You don’t have to feel the right thing, you just have to do the right thing. Lust makes us all ridiculous. The human heart is very perverse. Be as generous as you can: it’s the most selfish thing you can do. Ritual is at the center of spiRITUALity. Love letters are the point of life. With the right light, any window can become a mirror.”


*Note from Jen: What would your personal story be in 100 words? Post in comment section below.

 Elissa Wald is the author of "The Secret Lives of Married Women" (Hard Case Crime), "Meeting The Master: Stories of Mastery, Slavery and the Darker Side of Desire" (Grove Press), and a novel, "Holding Fire: A Love Story" (Context Books). Her work has also been published in several journals and anthologies, including Beacon Best of 2001, Creative Nonfiction, The Barcelona Review, The Mammoth Book of Erotica, Nerve: Literate Smut, The Ex-Files: New Stories about Old Flames, and Brain, Child Magazine.

Elissa Wald is the author of “The Secret Lives of Married Women” (Hard Case Crime), “Meeting The Master: Stories of Mastery, Slavery and the Darker Side of Desire” (Grove Press), and a novel, “Holding Fire: A Love Story” (Context Books). Her work has also been published in several journals and anthologies, including Beacon Best of 2001, Creative Nonfiction, The Barcelona Review, The Mammoth Book of Erotica, Nerve: Literate Smut, The Ex-Files: New Stories about Old Flames, and Brain, Child Magazine.

Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, and more. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day. Check out for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: SeattleLondon, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Tucson & The Berkshires (guest speaker Canyon Ranch.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.

image courtesy of Simplereminders and Bryant McGill.

image courtesy of Simplereminders and Bryant McGill.

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No Comments

  • Reply Kathy Featherstone July 15, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    love it….well said!

  • Reply ingeluett July 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    If this counts as a story? At least it has exactly 100 words, including the caption:

    Study in Green

    Who to describe green? Linden, birch, oak leaf, or pine, no two trees agree on the nature of greenness. So I, too, must fail. An individual in an ocean of individualists, every act of nonconformity will make me blend in even more.
    So who to describe green? Surely not I, setting out into the wild blue yonder, hiding behind hedges, hedging her bets, living on dinners barring the greens.
    Who to describe green, the lushness, the shades, the epics of colour and promise, the glory of spring, and the hope of bliss to come? Surely not I.

  • Reply atlonglastheard July 15, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    A happy, healthy, loving, kind, silly, adventure-seeking, funny, mostly intelligent, sometimes wildly irreverent, forward-looking spirit having a very human experience. Have faced many life challenges with grace and survived. Have fought hard to stick around to see what happens next. Looking to make a difference in my life so that I am able, by example, to encourage others to do the same. Believe that one person CAN make a difference, and if we all live with this uppermost in our minds, think of the awesome transformation the world would see. Am ready for blessings that are no longer in disguise.

  • Reply Diana July 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    My personal story in 100 words? haha you jest. How does anyone write about losing nearly everyone they loved and that loved them, to accidents, diseases, drug addictions, alcoholism, disappointment in 100 words? How do you summarize an exciting challenging hard-fought career that was replaced too soon by a couple of new college grads, in 100 words? How can a person discuss what it’s like to live with an incurable disease that no one’s ever heard of, in 100 words? How does one convey what it’s like to be 65 years old and have little $$ savings, in 100 words? How writes anyone in 100 words what she learned about herself from all the above? It would take a zillion footnotes, like in the anvil 8-inch thick book, “In Jest”, by David Foster Wallace, who later committed suicide. I can’t do it.

  • Reply Paulissa Kipp Cpsws July 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Who ever heard of a weak Phoenix? A Phoenix is supposed to be strong, to rise above and soar. Yet the Phoenix is a survivor. A survivor of what? A survivor of abandonment, abuse and the land of never enough. Yet strength is forged by vulnerability. Thinking negatively requires no courage; gratefulness does – especially on the really shitty days. Each of us can create joy, but first and foremost, we have to delve within. So many of us are scared of ourselve – why? Because we are in our own skin 24/7. Can’t run from ourselves – RUN TO.

  • Reply Love, Life & Whatever July 15, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Hey Jen I am a big admirer of your blog…I find almost all posts full of insights and honest confessions…coming to 100 words…isn’t it too less! But hey you asked for it and I have to abide by it.
    Love, love and love that’s what keeps me going… Anything or everything in this world happens for a purpose or a deeper meaning and I truly believe in that. I am a quintessential woman and love every part of being a woman. I don’t endorse any kind of extremism be it in any form. I believe in the school of thought that recommends ‘art of balancing’. More so I believe in humanism( I don’t know if there’s a term like that which exists but the spirit that dwells into humanity); to make it sound clear anything that values life on this earth without putting any clauses like caste, creed and gender, I respectfully defend that.

    I will be more than glad if you get time, you visit my blog…my best wishes

  • Reply Danielle July 16, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Really creative! Did she get the job?

  • Reply philrayjack July 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    My answer comes from lines of my poem, “A Poem Yet to be Written.”
    “I am on a journey to discover the real me.
    My life is a poem yet to be written,
    And I am a work yet to be completed.
    In my search for meaning,
    I find a part of myself along the way.
    A new discovery here,
    A deeper understanding there,
    Piecing the puzzle together . . .

    The mountain stands on the horizon,
    Its granite peaks calling my spirit to climb.
    The path will be rugged,
    There will be challenges along the way,
    But the light of truth shines on the mountain top.
    The closer we get to discovering
    And becoming our true selves,
    The more some seek to discourage us.
    “The path is too steep,
    The trail too rugged,” they say.
    “You are not worthy,” they hint.
    I will not be defeated.
    I will not surrender.
    I will stand strong.
    I will not remain in the shadow.

  • Reply Heather July 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Open your heart, open your mind, open your soul and feed your addiction for adventure and new experiences. Keep tossing caution to the wind and trusting yourself that YOU know what is best for you. Keep your family and friends close for they are the ones supporting you on this wild journey called life. Keep moving, flowing, loving and glowing. Keep teaching, sharing, inspiring and caring. Keep things simple. Keep your feet on the ground, your head in the clouds and your heart in your hands. Offer it all for the benefit of yourself and others. Love the journey.

  • Reply Lynne Walker July 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    No one said life would be easy and it surely hasnt been so far for me but every experience, good or bad, has made me the person i am.

    Not everyone likes or understands my way to live my life but they have certainly learnt from me as much as i have learnt from them.

    I will always do my thing with integrity, i will change my mind sometimes, i will always be passionate about people, and never lose the child within who explores everything that comes into my life even when i am scared, miserable or unhappy with life.

    Life changes continually and i will embrace those changes but will always be happy with the person that is me.
    I am absolutely amazing and my life’s mission is to share that with others and help them realise how amazing they are too.

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