My mom says that before my first birthday I was talking in full sentences with most of them ending in question marks. In later years, on the drive to school, my dad would lovingly ask me to take a breath and sit with my questions so he might have time to think about his answer before I peppered him with the next one.

And in college, when I was dating my now-husband, Jay, he almost swore off watching movies with me because of the number of non-stop interrogatories concerning what was happening next and why and where and to whom.

I make no apologies for it. I’m a woman — asking questions is what women do; it’s how we make sense of the world around us. And, quite beautifully, at the heart of this very ordinary action lies a real vulnerability, an invitation to a communal experience of the world as we offer to each other, “I don’t know … but maybe you do?”

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…Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
…What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

—Robert Frost

I have a love-hate relationship with epic novels. The Red Horse by Corti, The Idiot by Dostoevsky, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I love the gasps and sighs and ups and downs of that first read. I get enamoured with the character development and crave the distraction at work waiting for lunch when I can read while I eat my soup. Nothing beats the kind of 3am and my light’s still on because I need to get to the next chapter thrill. Yet, even though I quest continually to find the next “big novel,” I in turn truthfully hate something about each one: I’ll never read it for the first time again.

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