Small questions, glimpses of the whole universe

I’ve written before about how I believe small details about a person can reveal huge swaths about their essential nature.  Once in a while I happen upon a question that I think uncovers this kind of truth.  Usually the question is about something really tiny.  But somehow, in the glittering detail it reveals about a person, I think I can glimpse the shimmer of the whole universe that sparkles inside of them.  Sometimes I like to ask these questions on twitter.  I’m curious as to how some of you would answer them, too.

– If you are married, do you and your spouse have anything engraved inside your wedding rings?  If so, what?

– Have you broken bones?  A lot, or none?  Which?

– Who is your favorite fictional character of all?

– If you are (or have been) married, what was the first dance song at your wedding?

– What was your very favorite book when you were a child?

Do you agree with me that small details about people can provide windows into the expansive sky of their souls?  How would you answer these questions?

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  1. Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Most definitely! All very telling…

    1. Our initials and the date.
    2. No broken bones.
    3. Scarlett O’Hara
    4. True Companion
    5. Little Women

    I’d love to hear your answers too!

  2. ari
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    1. no engraving (i hope it is a cultural thing)
    2. no broken bones ( Knocking on wood. When i was a kid my brother broke his leg, tough ordeal!, thankfully he is fine now)
    3. Dostoyevski
    4. no song (buddhists are not very romantic:))
    5. Andersen’s fairy tales. I still love them.

  3. Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    1. “You’re my favorite.”
    2. No broken bones, save a stress fracture in my big toe.
    3. Anne Shirley
    4. “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”
    5. A Ramona book, probably.


  4. Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    yes, love what these simple questions always reveal…
    • no engravings inside our wedding bands
    • left arm (my writing hand) when I was 4-years-old
    • one of my favorites is hermione granger from harry potter
    • wedding song was “with you I’m born again”
    • a favorite book was little women (loved jo in this book and on ‘fact of life’ tv show)

    I know you have probably answered these questions repeatedly, but wondered if you were also willing to share. thank you for this playful, soulful exploration, lindsey. xo

  5. Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    1. No engraving
    2. Yes, a leg and a couple fingers
    3. Scout Finch
    4. Shameless
    5. Where the Red Fern Grows

  6. Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Nope, nope, Samwise, The One by Lambchop, ALL books 🙂

  7. Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I absolutely agree that small details can reveal so much, and as a wrter, this is essential. When you’re writing fiction you need to show your reader the character, let them figure out who the character is rather than telling them. At my first few workshops with Pam when we went around the room and introduced ourselves we had to say who we were and one concrete physical detail from our lives, and those details that people shared and the language they chose to describe those details revealed really intimate things without saying them.

    1. not married
    2. never a bone but definitely my heart and the heart of another
    3. Lucy from Waltzing the Cat
    4. I Love You from Climax Blues Band
    5. Are you There God, It’s Me Margaret, Judy Blume

  8. Kristin H. Macomber
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    1. KH to JDM 6-11-83

    2. one chipped bone from hitting a tree skiing, lots of torn ligaments from other ski adventures.

    3. Huckleberry Finn

    4. No memory what our first dance was! That’s what 29 years of wedded bliss does.

    5. Hands down, the Little Princess. And in fact, Sara Crewe might be a close 2nd in favorite fictional characters. Loved loved loved how she was a voracious reader, and devoted to her father, and brave about being sent away to boarding school, and stoic about being reduced to the role of the scullery maid living in the garret. I loved how she had her whole pretend world to sustain her. I love that she learned to be stronger than the evil people around her, by not revealing her anger to them. Her silence was her power. For the painfully shy girl I was when I read that book, Sara Crewe was my hero.

  9. Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I rely very heavily on my instinct on people – how I feel, not what I hear or see. My instinct has served me well and when I’ve chosen to ignore and disregard, invariably I have been proven my first instinct is right. Maybe I subconsciously catch those little things.

    – Not married but when I was, nothing
    – I’ve shattered my elbow, broken my foot, broken multiple toes, some multiple times, and a whopping six concussions!
    – Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone – She’s quirky, protective of herself, independent, drives a VW Bug, insatiable curiosity, ignores the rules to suit her purposes all for good intent.
    – If you are (or have been) married, what was the first dance song at your wedding? Thank You by Led Zeppelin
    – What was your very favorite book when you were a child? The Wizard of Oz

  10. Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    1. We don’t have rings
    2. Collarbone – bunk bed incident. 6 ribs – football incident
    3. Snoopy because he’s smart and funny = the perfect man
    4. We did not dance at our wedding
    5. Anything by Judy Blume

  11. Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes! I do agree with you, so much so that I came up with the idea to create a resource around it called Deep Speak to get people sharing around these types of questions. In reality though because we were limited to 120 questions there are a lot of broader questions in there as well. It is so true that the sharing of answers to “little” questions can reveal so much and also gives us the opportunity to create deeper connections with each other.

    My answers to your questions are –

    No engravings inside wedding rings

    Never any broken bones

    Amelie Poulain

    “You Look Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. My husband played the guitar and sang it to me

    The Secret Garden and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

    Thank you for your wonderful site Lindsey, I’ve just discovered it!

  12. Haile
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Oooh fun questions! “what’s your favorite book and poem” are suspiciously missing…

    1. Nothing engraved, but hubs designed ring with sapphires all ’round
    2. No broken bones, unless you count a toe. Slipped in a puddle of Scotch on my back steps. Not my own puddle of Scotch. In case you were wondering.
    3. This is hard. Maddie Hayes comes to mind.
    4. Sinatra, of course! The Way You Look Tonight
    5. Chronicles of Narnia or Bobsey Twins. Dead tie on that one.

  13. Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Wow – what fun to read these! I loved the little answers that provided big windows.
    My answers:
    1. nothing
    2. no broken bones (knock on wood)
    3. Anne Shirley
    4. Someone to Watch Over Me
    5. Anne of Green Gables. Delighted to see ‘The Secret Garden’ and ‘A Little Princess’ on others’ lists. I am reading The Secret Garden with my daughter right now and enjoying it so very much!

  14. Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Initials and date
    Collarbone, multiple toes
    Jo in Little Women
    Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)
    Little House in the Big Woods

    One thing I didn’t expect in marriage was that my husband would have a completely different set of books, not the girl centric ones, but picture books. He’d never heard of Ferdinand for goodness sake!

  15. Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    1. none
    2. none
    3. Jane Eyre, Scout Finch, Jo March and I could go on….
    4. Van Morrison’s Moondance
    5. Frog and Toad, Little Woman and all Judy Blume

    I’d also add
    6. What is your first memory?
    7. Milk or dark chocolate?
    8. How many books do you read at once?
    9. Do you make your bed?
    10. What is your favorite season?

    admin Reply:

    Oh, what excellent questions!

    6. I remember the dark velvet curtains in the first apartment that we lived in in Paris, on Rue Brea, and sitting in a slant of light through the window with my toddler sister. She had a runny nose, and we were building with plain wooden blocks.
    7. Dark all the way
    8. One book at a time
    9. Always, always, always.
    10. Spring

  16. Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, fun!

    1. no engraving
    2. I have broken a cornucopia of various toes. Often.
    3. Ramona Quimby
    4. No song–we eloped!
    5. Harriet the Spy