Have you heard of Padgett Powell?  Did you know that he has written a novel called The Interrogative Mood: A Novel??  Are those two question marks side by side like that a mistake?  Or might it be because one question – A Novel? – is Padgett Powell’s and the other is mine?  Why is Padgett Powell doubtful whether his book is a real novel?  What is a novel anyway?  Can you imagine reading a book of 164 pages that is a string of questions; no answers, just questions?  What do you suppose questions are for, to trigger answers or just to be rhetorical?  Who knows? 

What sort of questions does Padgett Powell pose in his book?  No doubt you’d like some examples?  Have you had, or do you now have, a soldering kit?  Do you understand exactly what is meant by custard?  Would it be better if things were better, and worse if things were worse, or better if things were worse and worse if things were better?  

Get the idea? 

Do you think, like me, that a novel solely of questions is crazy and yet somehow intriguing?  Are you wondering if I’m jealous, wishing I’d thought of writing a book of questions before Padgett Powell did?  How did you guess?  Are you just a tiny bit curious about the sort of questions I’d include?  If not, why not?  How about, why does the lace on my left shoe undo itself as I walk while the lace on my right shoe stays done up?  And, in the opposite direction, who taught my garden hose to tie knots?  Want something more profound?  How about, can there be any perception without contrast?  Or, who would you be if there was no praise or blame? 

Just suppose you were to write a book of questions, what would you include?


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