“An unasked question is the most futile thing in the world” – Darren Shan
As a child I loved the question “why” and “how”. Not only for the questions of “why do I have to do that” etc. but “Why I the sky blue?” or “How come every time I sleep I go to a different place?” I rarely got the answers to these type of questions, my parents would either say “Because it is.” Or my personal favorite “because I said so.” Or they would simply try to distract me with something else. I eventually learned to stop asking the hard questions and instead just create my own reasons why. For example the reason the sky was blue was because above us, suspended in air, was the ocean that held the next land people walked on and to get to it airplanes had to swim through the water, which is why airplanes were made out of mettle, to push its way through.
As I got older science entered my brain and informed me of all the incorrect explanations I had given myself and made the world seem even bigger. For some reason, though, the bigger the world got the less questions I thought of to ask and the more I just assumed as normal. The book, “What It Is” by Lynda Barry helped remind me of that child-like curiosity. It did it by asking questions to things that we as older people might have asked as a child but as we grew to adults we just learned to accept. By asking questions such as what the difference is between pretending and a lie or where does an image come from, stretched my brain away from the comfortable position it had been sitting in for so long. Admittedly the chaotic nature of the pages were a bit disorienting to start but, if I was being honest, so were the questions. Still, the more I read and looked, the more intrigued my mind was and the more I realized the setup of the pages fit the content exactly. Any less chaos would not have made sense.
Any book that makes me think about things or question things I had never thought to question before, is a good book to me. Those are the types of stories that allow people to continue to resist having an idle mind. “What It Is” is such a story.