Forging the Right PathThey say, “There are no dumb questions,” and as much as I’d like to believe that, I spent way too many years in classes where the prof would spell out an assignment on the board and then say, “Well, we have just enough time for one more question about the lecture,” and immediately, all hands would go up, and inevitably, the one question that gets answered is something like, “So, what you just wrote on the board is our assignment?” Cue the groaning from everyone else. But to the professor, this was a good question and everyone needed to be clear on the answer. Similarly, a server at Billy Joe’s Restaurant can answer the phone, “Thank you for calling Billy Joe’s where we open every day at noon. How can I help you? [Silence] …Noon,” and the phone gets hung up with an eye roll, whereas Billy Joe himself can have the same conversation and he’s happy to have clarified the answer for a guest calling about his own personal establishment. When you look at it that way, all questions posed to the source are welcome so long as the answers are helpful.

I spent the weekend signing books and meeting interesting people. One of the amazing things to happen was all of the great questions I was asked. I say great because most of them I could answer. It wasn’t a grilling for information when you have none; these were thoughtful questions posed to me about things I knew and that interest me.

At these events, I get asked questions on writing, characters, book lengths, publishing, processes, inspiration, if I’ve read so-and-so’s book, and advice for writers and readers. While some questions require an email response from me after the event, which I’m happy to offer (and just finished doing for this past weekend’s questions), some questions are easily answered in the shorter, in-person time allotted. I find it so interesting to be asked so many types of questions that all interest and even intrigue me. I can honestly say I’ve never run across a dumb question at these events, which makes me think I’m forging the right path.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at