“Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool.
But you yourself may serve to show it,
Every fool is not a poet.”
– Alexander Pope.
There are questions that birth answers. Where are the car keys? On the table. What’s the time? 1.13 pm. How many people came? 60. Who carried the potato salad home? Not me.
There are questions that birth wonder. Can you imagine what the diet of a civilization whose only source of energy is a pekele would be? Is it easier to lick your nose or your chin?
There are questions that birth questions. Did you see that? What are you talking about? That thing, did you see it? What thing?
There are questions that would rather not give birth to anything “Are you an idiot?”
Perhaps, also, there are questions that are the decorative form of language. That pepper the edges to make it worth exploring. This is the type of question that you come up against and think. Yes, I’d like to chew on that for a while. This sounds like it will give me further insight into the place of kachumbari in the larger scheme of a good chapo dondoo meal, or something less important.
“As novelists we’re just here to ask better questions”
– Marlon James
Then there are questions that fundamentally change how we think. Questions that shift perspective completely. Or, just a little bit. They aren’t that many, and finding them is like digging for gold. Extractive and very likely to be less than the demand expects. Those questions are not something that would be taken for granted. Unlike the space between here and the rest of existence.
I wish our critics had better questions.