Randall Payleitner


How to Rescue Yourself From Terrible Conversations (With These 9 Questions About Books and Writing)

Most conversations that involve more than three people and that last longer than five minutes experience a notable lull. Picture the larger than average dinner party or the post-church, coffee-in-hand semi-circle, or the bleachers in between your son’s wrestling matches.

Talking about the weather will buy you 2-3 minutes. Then you move on to obvious common topics: kids’ sickness, the Super Bowl, and lawn care. Then, inevitably, everyone pulls out their phone and pretends to be busy.

OR, instead, take the conversation back from super-lame and ask one of these questions. I guarantee it’ll be more interesting than checking Instagram again or hearing about your neighbor’s trip to the Orthopedic doctor.

(1) What was your favorite book as a kid?

(2) If you had a free Saturday afternoon to read whatever you wanted… What would it be?

(3) What historical time period would you most want to live in?

(4) Who is your favorite character in a book? Fiction or non-fiction.            

(5) Have you ever tried to write anything? What was it?

(6) What is the most interesting class you have ever taken (at any level)?

(7) Which section at a bookstore (remember them?) do you most gravitate toward?

(8) What book do you most often recommend other people read?

(9) What is your writing utensil of choice?