When I taught writing at Vanderbilt, I had a secret method for teaching narrative. I asked students if they had ever been bitten by a dog. It’s a great question for drawing out stories. There’s always a story when someone has been dogbit. And those people who have never been dogbit usually start their response as follows: “I’ve never been bitten by a dog, but…” And those are some of the best stories. “I’ve never been bitten by a dog, but I once got chased by kangaroos…” or “I’ve never been bitten by a dog, but this possum got in our trash can and…”
Just today a lawyer friend said, “I’m interviewing law students today. Do you have any good questions to ask?” I answered, “Why, yes, I do. Ask them if they’ve ever been bitten by a dog. A lawyer needs to be able to tell a story.”
And so should blog readers. So I ask you, dear reader: Have you ever been bitten by a dog?