Last weekend I went to a writing workshop. The topic was personal essays. After spending three minutes writing one we were asked to share it with the person next to us.
“You first,” says Stobby.
“Ok. Last summer I went to the United States to attend a jazz concert given by a friend of mine.”
“He was really good.”
“So you thought he was bad?”
“No. I had never heard him play before.”
“I guess that’s not really a story,” she says finally.
Despite attending these workshops for the last four years, I was reminded again of something I had forgotten. Personal essays need a point, a revelation. You can’t just write about a trip to bank….you have to discover that someone’s been stealing from you, too.
Then I started wondering if that was really true. How come I can’t write an entertaining story with no point? What if I met a clown, found a $100 bill and picked an old lady up off the sidewalk while on my morning jog? Would it be entertaining enough if I added a few laughs or would I also have to cure cancer by the time I got home?