In the musical film, Lost Horizons, Bobby Van sang the song “Question Me An Answer.”
Question me an answer bright and clear.
I will answer with a question clear and bright.
Even though your answer may be wrong my question will be right.
Question me an answer.
Answer with a question.
The game show Jeapordy jumped on the same bandwagon years ago and is still going strong.
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One of the first questions we learn to ask is “Why?”
“Mommy, why can’t I have a cookie?” (Ok, what comes out of the toddler’s mouth is usually just “Why?” but the meaning is usually clear.)
“Why do I have to take a nap, or go to bed?”
As a writer, however, my questioning has become more sophisticated.
My “Why?”s usually come from a character’s point of view.
Why did Kelsey run away?
Why did Joanna take that specific job?
Why would Kathleen marry a guy like that?
BUT – sometimes, when I put on my character’s clothes, I word the questions with an “I” focus.
Why did I run away?
Why did I take this job?
Why did I marry a guy like that?
Not that I ever did, but if I was that character, why did I do what I did. Non-writers have difficulty understanding this.
THE “WHAT IF?”S
These questions come at me daily, if not hourly. The “What if?”s include questions about how the world operates, or should operate; and how people behave and whether or not something would change history.
What if Abraham Lincoln had survived that gun shot?
What if the world in a science fiction book became real?
What if the footballs in the Superbowl hadn’t been deflated?
They can also be focused as if I was a character making a choice.
What if I told Susan exactly what I thought instead of telling her what she would want to hear?
What if I refused to let my daughter get involved in school activities and expected her to get a job to help pay for her college education?
See what I mean? But again, most non-writers have a difficulty understanding this.
THE “I WONDER?”S
I love research. Before I retired from teaching high school, my students would groan when I told them I love researching topics.
My parents fed my early curiosity with the book series Tell Me Why, followed by More Tell Me Why, and Still More Tell Me Why. (The series continued on with several books.)
The internet has brought my curiosity to a new level. If I hear something that seems too outlandish or if something only touches on a topic, I pop my laptop open and start searching.
It is so much easier and quicker than writing down the topics and questions and waiting until the weekend. I would head to the public library to pour over the green volumes of The Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature and search for the topic, hoping that the library would carry that magazine.
Then I would thumb through the 3×5 index cards in the card catalog.
In short, I love questions. I love asking them. But, when it comes time to answer a question that is asked of me, please give me a moment to formulate my answer. OR “Question me an answer.”
MY 500 WORDS PROJECT
“My 500 Words” is a group of Facebook that challenges writers to write at least 500 words everyday. This is my landing strip for the suggested prompts. Please read and feel free to comment or share a link to something you have written.
Day 134: Questions
Questions. Do you love them or hate them? Are you the lawyer who asks only when you know the answer, or are you the investigative journalist who just wants to learn or uncover the truth?
Today, write about questions.