I’ve just written a new book, my fifth. The book, 101 Questions That Will Change Your Life, is in e-book form only at this time, but I expect the print copy to be published in August 2012.
101 Questions is a guided exploration of you, your life and your place in the Universe. it has 101 questions (well, duh) that you are invited to consider and answer. I’ve even given you some suggestions for how you might use the book, 51 of them in fact. Here they are:
- Start at the beginning and answer one question at a time till you get to the end.
- Open the book at random and answer whatever question you get.
- Answer a question a day, perhaps over your morning coffee.
- Answer a question a day by reading it in the morning, perhaps over your morning coffee, and then thinking about it all day and writing the answer before bed.
- Do the same thing but make it a question a week or a question a month to give you even more time to come up with great answers.
- Write your answers on the 101 Questions Blog so that others can benefit from your deep thoughts.
- Make the questions part of a meditation practice.
- Join a group and discuss them at great length before coming up with your answer.
- Form a group if you don’t have an existing group.
- Write the answers down.
- Don’t write the answers down, that way you can change them on a whim.
- Answer them in song.
- Answer with a poem or a haiku.* (this is tough, see below)
- Create an answer using art—a painting, drawing, photograph.
- Act out the answers or create installation art.
- Gather other people’s opinions to help you refine your own thoughts.
- Write each question on a small piece of paper and pull one randomly when you feel a need to expand your mind. Or use the 101 Questions Cards that will be available here.
- Google each question and see what the web has to say in response.
- Write your favorite question on a postcard and leave it in odd public places to stretch the mind of random readers. Try coffee shops, motel rooms, libraries.
- You’ve heard of a message in a bottle? How about a question in a bottle?
- Use a question a day in your email signature.
- Twitter questions.
- Twitter answers.
- Choose five or seven or twenty questions to explore in-depth for a year. See how your life changes during that year. Record it.
- Sit in a park in the sun and just think about a question.
- Sit on a beach or a dock at sunrise and contemplate the question that puzzles you the most.
- Choose a great question and discuss it loudly and drunkenly over dinner of spaghetti and red wine.
- Convince your friends that you’re weird by introducing the question you think is most mind-blowing right in the middle of a sports event.
- Ask a random stranger on the street one of the questions.
- Write to your favorite author and ask them one of the questions.
- Try to answer each question within a limited number of words; 50 or 100 for example.
- Create different characters and see how their answers would vary.
- Pray for an answer from God.
- Ask a psychic.
- Include a question in your voicemail message. Ask listeners to leave their answer.
- Ask your boss.
- Put a classified ad in the paper asking a question and invite responses.
- Ask online in one of the many question and answer forums.
- Hire a sky-writer and have your favorite question written across the sky. Who knows how many people’s lives might be changed.
- Create a collage of questions.
- Read a question right before going to sleep and see if an answer comes to you in your dreams.
- Go to a poetry slam and just recite the questions – one after another—loudly.
- Write your own book with the questions AND the answers.
- Start a newspaper column where you explore the questions and answers.
- Have a contest. Invite people to submit the answers to your favorite questions and give a great prize for the best one – a bag of pistachios or a free trip.
- Give a copy of the book for Christmas with a written promise that you will spend an hour a week discussing the answers with them. Undivided attention – what a great gift.
- Paint the questions on your wall. Mind-blowing wall art.
- Ask little children and see what they say. You might be surprised.
- Mumble to yourself and when people say, ‘excuse me?’ ask them a question and look intently at them waiting for an answer.
- Create a party game. Ask a random question and have each person write their answer anonymously. Read them out and have people guess who said what.
- Find a labyrinth and walk it as you contemplate a question.
I have my favorites; they are in italic and in color. In fact, I’m considering making a set of cards out of the questions to use in team building workshops.
I also have my favorite questions and I was a bit afraid that I’d pick out my favorites to blog about and then, eventually, I’d be stuck with only the ones I didn’t really like to think about and I’d be dreading blogging for days or weeks at a time. In fact, knowing me, I’d probably decide ‘oh that’s enough now’ and abandon it. So I cut them all up and every day I will pull a question out of a jar and blog about it.
I hope you will come back regularly and consider the questions as they come out of the jar. I hope you will think about your own answers and contribute them in a comment. Think of it not only as helping to expand your own perspective and boundaries but of contributing to the wisdom of the Universe, or at least all the people who will be reading this blog. And especially me!
*A note about the poem or haiku idea. I am a painter. I paint abstracts in acrylic that I call scribbles. I don’t like to name my paintings but I’m working on a series for a solo show. So I’ve started writing a haiku or a poem for each one instead of giving them titles. Believe me, this is really hard. I challenge you to try it with one question and post it here. Here’s one of my paintings: