Questions Upon Questions

by Nancy Casey

To begin today’s writing, you must come up with a question that you don’t know the answer to. That shouldn’t be hard. There are an infinite number of them, maybe even more.

Set up your page by drawing a line at the top of the page where the title will go so don’t have to ask yourself, “Where the heck do I put the title?” after your page is all filled up.

You can add a border to the page if you like, or set off a space where you can draw and doodle while you think up what to write next.

Write down a question—one question, a question that you don’t know the answer to.

Choose one word from your question and write down another question that has that word in it. Again, it must be a question you don’t know the answer to.

After that, pick a word from the new question and use it to think up another question.

Keep going down the page like that. Always ask questions that you don’t know the answer to. Always use a word from the previous question in the next question that you ask.

Help your mind shift over to question mode by thinking about all the different words you can use to frame a question. The ones that begin with W, for instance: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

There is a whole family of questions that begin with How: How much? How many? How big? How full? How on earth? How come?

There aren’t any special words for starting out yes-or-no questions, but many of them begin with one of these: Isn’t…? Should…? Will…? Aren’t…? Did…? May I…?

Whole families of questions spring up from the word if. If something does or doesn’t happen, what will or won’t happen next?

Let your mind wander through your personal version of the vast unknown. There’s no danger of running out of questions. Even though the questions will be linked together by the word that they share, you might surprise yourself by how many different subjects you have questions about. Or it could turn out that the surprise will be that you can ask so many questions about one subject.

Eventually your page will fill up. When it does, take a careful look at what you have written and make small changes if you like. Add some illustration if you feel like it. Think up a title and write it at the top of the page, along with your signature and the date.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image. 

Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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