My second book, Twirl, ends with a question. It is a question I did not mean to write. Originally, I wrote the last words as a statement. I was wondering, and I wanted my wondering to be a statement, not a question. I feared a question would make me sound weak.
I asked L.L. Barkat if there was any way she would pretty please with a cherry on top change it back so that the book didn’t end in a question. She said that this would not serve the ending best, but her “no” wasn’t as important to me as what she explained next: “You have to trust me on this one — it’s the people who are strong that ask the questions.”
Though it felt revealing to share what I was feeling, I liked thinking that I might come across as someone who is strong because I asked a question. Plus, Barkat didn’t tell me I had to answer my question. Through our correspondence I learned my strength came from the asking.
This is a new way of thinking for me. It was also freeing. Where’s the harm in asking a question if I didn’t need it answered? It got me thinking what else can be done with a question? Maybe a question could be like a dress that can be worn in different ways. Or an ingredient, like basil or hot pepper flakes, that add flavor and spice to a dish.
Maybe a question is like those first few electric moments before a kiss — the shaky inhale, the fingers that touch then intertwine, the last look before eyes close.
Perhaps enjoying the possibilities of asking a question bring us just as much fun (if not more) than finding the answer.
This week’s prompt comes straight from Tania Runyan’s How to Write a Poem: Write a poem that begins with a question. Don’t try too hard to answer it.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s one from Lynn we enjoyed:
no sleeping beauty, she’s a
fair fairy, a frightful villainess
come back in black; horned,
winged, pale with hungering
what do you offer to appease?
appeal? tease? try to deal?
a cupcake?! she’s no mousy
muffin, that you’ll be stuffin’
whip up delicacy for those
cynical red lips, a mouth that
purses when speaking curses
baked over coals of tongued
fire, thick forest of thorny briar
rich, dark chocolate cake of
devil’s food, a true-love’s kiss
baked inside, laced with poison,
frosted white, too-sweet icing
served at dawn as darkness dies.
A Writer’s Dream Book
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