Whenever people take offense at the questions I ask, I respond, “I’m just trying to learn.” Writers are always asking questions, so a lot of people buy this answer–unless they known me well. If they know me well, they know I was just being sarcastic (heh heh).
Late last year, I went out to dinner with a former good friend named Mark. When our beer arrived–mine was Sam Adams and his was some kind of cheap swill, his first comment was, “This beer tastes like goat piss.”
“What breed of goat?”
“I just wondered how you knew what goat piss tasted like, so I thought maybe you raised Toggenburgs or Fainting Goats and had a special experience.”
“Of course not,” snapped Mark. “It’s just an expression for ‘this stuff tastes really bad.'”
“Oh, well, I was just trying to learn.”
I’ve asked a similar question when people say things like, “This stew tastes like dog shit.” I know what they mean, of course, but it’s fun to yank their chains and ask, “How do you know?”
A writer can never ask too many questions unless the other person is the size of the Incredible Hulk and/or has an AK-47 with a full magazine. At that point, learning isn’t necessary. Well, it’s never really necessary because what I’m I’m looking for is each person’s reaction to being asked if his/her knowledge comes from having tasted the stuff.
Common expressions that also have a literal meaning provide a lot of fun for writers. Yes, I know, we’re inside all the time and don’t get out much.
Thanks to all of you who stopped by Amazon to pick up an on-sale copy of “Fate’s Spells.” I hope you like it.