Write for You: Questions, questions

-by Nancy Casey

There is so much that we just don’t know! That’s why we ask questions. Questions probably run through your head all the time.

Today in your writing, all you will do is ask questions. Questions that you don’t know the answer to. One after another. As many as you can.

If you are asking yourself, “How can I write a page full of questions?” here are some hints to help jostle some questions out of your imagination and onto the page.

  • The question words: Who? What? When? Where? and Why? Lots of questions start with those words. You can pull any idea out of the air, and probably think up a question that begins with each of those words.
  • Don’t forget about all of the questions you can ask that begin with How? Sometimes How? gets overlooked because it doesn’t start with W.
  • What if? When you start a question like that, every possible and impossible thing in the universe is available for you to ask about.
  • Start with a thing. Pick any thing and ask some questions about it.
  • Start with a person or a place.
  • Start with an action, think about flying or laughing or sleeping and ask questions about that.

Teachers and students alike have observed that people learn best when they are learning things they have questions about.

Scientists are always asking questions. Artists ask questions all the time, too. Everyone does. Not all questions lead to answers. Every question doesn’t need an answer. The way we sort the questions that matter to us from the ones that don’t is by asking them all.

In his work Letters to a Young Poet, the writer Rainier Maria Rilke invites us to love the questions themselves. Think of them as locked rooms, he says and promises that by living you find the keys.

After you have written a zillion questions, give your work a title. Make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Add decoration and color to the page as needed. Here is an example of what a person could write.

Share what you have written! Post it as a comment below. You can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.

Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. She has taught writing classes at the Recovery Center and will return again in the spring of 2018. You can find more of her work here. If you would like her help with a writing project—resumes, letters, stories novels—email latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com for more information.

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