Remember FAQs? Do people still do those? I feel like I should be leaning forward and speaking in trembling voice as I clutch the ball of my cane, but back in the early 90s when the World Wide Web was a whippernapper you’d find nary a website without a “FAQ” or page of “frequently asked questions,” which was a borrowed term of art from Usenet, a precursor to the Interent (it still actually exists as a shadow of its former self, populated by that curious demographic where early adapters and luddites overlap). The truth is that the FAQ was usually Questions Nobody Asked But Might, i.e., they were questions made up on the spot by the Website creator.
I called my own page for that purpose Q & A for transparency, but even after fielding questions at various events and on some social networking sites, I felt like this page wasn’t taking shape to my liking. It then occurred to me that it’s because the actual frequently asked questions are the info that’s already on the site and (moreover) what I really want is to answer the questions I feel like answering. And so I debut a new post series of Questions Nobody Asks But Should (QNABS) (When pronounced as an acronym, the Q is silent.)
What is your favorite poem?
It’s a toss-up between Frost’s trees, Burns’s mouse, Stevens’s snowman, and Stafford’s wanderer. I settle for the last, because it seems to be of the essential stuff of fairy tale and children’s fiction.
What better call and response is there, from author to reader, than this:
“Who are you really, wanderer?”
And the reply:
“Maybe I’m a king.”
King can be substituted with queen, of course, but also with wizard, fairy, vampire, martian, Olympian, baseball hero, pirate, or parseltongue. It’s the great “maybe” behind many of the world’s greatest stories, and Stafford boiled it down to a few stanzas.