Write the story of your life in 400 words. (Or fold a sheet of paper in half, and write the story of your life on it.) When you are done, write the story of your life in 400 words again — but don’t repeat a single detail. The first time, write about all the houses you ever lived in. Then write about all the jobs you ever had. All the people you kissed. What you wanted, when. Then write about the people you knew and how they influenced you. Write about the clothes you’ve worn. The foods you’ve eaten. The things you believed. The times you changed your mind. Embarrassments. Triumphs. Write about the forces of history that have shaped you: what was going on in the world when you were born, or the first story on the news that you remember? Write about the way you looked or the way that you thought you looked. How many different people lurk inside the truth of you?