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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pets and Literature: Who Says They Don't Mix?

I started working on a collection of pet stories. All creative nonfiction pieces about my experiences as a pet owner; all kinds of pets: dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, fish, lizards, even a squirrel. Oh yeah, there were some turtles in there. I have had many pets as a child, a parent, and as an adult. And why wouldn't  owning them generate great stories? They do. But many times pet stories just aren't taken seriously.

Pet stories tend to fall is the basket of "not so serious literature." Light stuff, overly sentimentalized. Not serious works of prose.

But for many of us, pets are our mirrors in life, aren't they? How we treat them, interact with them, live with them reflects on how we live our lives, how we conduct ourselves, how we interact with our fellow humans, our lovers, our kids, our friends. Good pet stories are not really about the pets, are they? They are about something bigger, bolder, richer.

I hope I can shed a light on that. I hope I can begin, in some small way, to change the way the book world–that world of literature–looks at pet stories.

Here's an early draft of a piece for the collection. It's called "MIKE." How am I doing?

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