Of the hundreds of stories I’ve written, “What Animal Are You?” is my favorite one to read at events, especially ones that happen far away from home. What’s special about this story, to me, is that its characters are my family and myself, but, unlike the autobiographical stories in my collection, The Seven Good Years, none of the events it describes really happened.
When I read “What Animal Are You?” to an audience, the rare seam between its real characters and its made-up situations allows me to be two things at once: an author and performer presenting my work to the world, and an oversensitive, homesick man. The only problem I’ve run into is that whenever I read the story out loud, I end up in tears. When I’m recording it for Alphabet Audio Soup, I can always ask Noa to do another take, but when I read it in front of a live audience it can be a little embarrassing.