Last week my essay “Is My Story Dramatic Enough?” was published in the Washington Independent Review of Books. Its foundation was laid one evening when one of my students stopped me in the hallway after our memoir class and said, “All these stories are so dramatic! Where is the drama in mine? It’s just about a cat!” Granted, we had just workshopped manuscripts about a sister’s suicide, a patient’s death, and a mother’s mental illness. How could she compete with that when her drama “only” involved the anguish of her cat gone missing?
Interestingly, after the WIRoB tweeted the article and a Twitter stream ensued, I was connected to Peter Trachtenberg, who happens to have written a memoir, Another Insane Devotion, about a missing cat. Purportedly it is about much more, but I haven’t read it (yet), so I can’t say anything about it; however, I love the way these kind of connections can happen. And of course I love that he has proven the very point of my essay: that a missing cat can very well be the inciting incident for a memoir if certain criteria are met. So read about these criteria in my (rather short) article and let me know what you think. I always love to hear your thoughts!