aren’t you curious?


“At some point,” I said, as I dipped a tortilla chip into a mysterious green salsa, “it might come up that my husband died in May.  Also, I just got out of prison in July.  I just thought I’d let you know outright so it doesn’t cause any weird hiccups in the conversation.”

She dipped her tortilla chip in the salsa and didn’t skip a beat.  “How was the food?”


For the most part, this is my experience with people who I’ve only just met.  When presented with the details of my last couple of years, curiosity presents itself before they have time to fully absorb the social conventions necessary to process such a series of facts.  The question is different each time, but the innocent wonderings of it is always the same, as is the way it just bubbles up.

I like it because I understand it– I know I’d have innocent questions, too, but as time goes on, it feels less and less appropriate to ask them.  I’d have questions about prison and jail, widowhood and marriage, food and blogs and letters and firefirefighting.  There’s so much I didn’t know about my world before it became my world.  I would want to know it all.  My questions would want to find their way to freedom because there isn’t anything wrong with asking someone something they’re willing to talk about.

So I’m opening the floor, to free your curiosities.
Ask me anything.

You can comment, email me at, or use the form below.

I might reply directly to your comment or make it a post, or answer it in a video, or write the answer on a balloon and release it, or … really, it’s a mystery.  I do strange things sometimes.  If you want credit for your answer, you’ll have to provide your name and/or site.

But, go to town, ask me anything about anything.


How curious are you in general, on a scale of 1 to 10?


    1. SO good. It’s their trademark dip over at Lola’s Mexican Cuisine in Long Beach, CA. And it’s amazing! Deb from and A from, or the team from could attest to that. A was there when I blurted the details at the new friend, too… that was less glorious than the dip, but in fairness. That dip is hard to beat. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t watched it yet, but I read the book. I was in a state prison, not a federal prison, and the differences are vast. I remember Glamour doing a product-collage article on it “Things Inmates Cant Live Without” or some such, and myself and the girls laughed because any of that stuff… If we could get it at all… Would be worth its weight in gold. I did appreciate the book, though. It had a collection of resources in the back for prisoners and newly released girls– very useful!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s always a tricky one when something huge is casually dropped into a conversation. I tend to err on the side of not asking questions, but letting them know that I’m happy to listen if they want to talk. I can’t think of any particular questions for you now, but I’ll enjoy seeing what questions come up!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I always think I’m going to do it ypur way but when I have questions stored up inside my head tilts sideways and everyone can tell. They usually ask me to ask, then I do. Because… Curiosity!

      Thanks for reading, Vanessa-Jane. So far the questions are awesome! This is a community of thoughtful, detailed thinkers!


  2. *snort* My lack of curiosity drives my boyfriend absolutely crazy!
    For example: At Christmas he’s all up and around trying to find out what someone bought him in any way he can think of. I just laugh at him because I have my Mom’s patented answers which are guaranteed to evoke more curiosity without giving a bloody thing away :D.
    Me? Meh. He’ll even try to goad me into trying to figure out what he’s gotten me. I just look at him, shake my head and go about my business.
    I am curious about things; things are interesting and meant to be learned about. I do ask questions and go digging for answers, but my curiosity isn’t all consuming. Curiosity has its time and place as everything else does.
    I guess my curiosity depends on the situation. I’m more curious about what makes a person tick than I am about what’s going to be on sale at Walmart next week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Organized curiosity seems ike the best version of the trait! Well done! My curiosity is a mess of questions, big and small. But then, I put every question under “what makes people tick”.


  3. As you’d know, Indians have this tendency to not talk about subjects that are uncomfortable. So, I’d say I’m not so curious.

    On second thought, maybe I do have a couple of questions. Are prisons really the way they are portrayed in Hollywood movies? Does watching a film which shows the prisoners’ tough environment affect you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I don’t really watch TV or movies… And I never watched any jail/prison movies till I got there. (With the exception of sitcoms that feature small town sheriffs.). Which I think might be part of the reason I wasn’t afraid to go.

      And since coming back, I haven’t really watched any TV or movies. I saw South Paw with a friend the first week… And the courtroom scene was more upsetting to me than I remember courtroom scenes being before… But no, it wasn’t that realistic.

      There’s reasons they can’t be accurate to my experience though. The moving around and cages would make it hard to film. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha. Another not-so-curious here. If I ever had any, it was drummed out of me by my female in-laws, who are the nosiest bunch of people I’ve known. We are always hiding things from them until forced to tell them. Then it’s third-degree time.

    My only question for you is: where do you find your strength? Not just the strength you have to get through the day with your positive outlook (and I realize you have your times of feeling crushed by it all – but you really do seem to be a positive person on balance), but the strength to see the positives in your prison experience and the women you met there. You obviously saw the negatives, but I honestly think that would be ALL I’d have seen if I’d been in your shoes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a post! 🙂 But I wanted to say thank you for asking a question. I think you’d have seen the positive too only because… It’s not all bad. Women have a way of forming communities everywhere. And communities are joyful.

      The quick answer is I find my strength in certainty. There is good to be found and good to be done. If I’m not seeing it, then I’m just not looking hard enough. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I am always very curious about things, but try to hide it lest it comes across as intrusive.

    I wish I could think of a question now…will have to ponder it some. Hmmmm…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. You’ve been much more open than I’ll ever be, and I’m sure you’ll talk about anything if and when you’re ready, and won’t need any questions from me. 🙂
    P.S., on the scale of 1 through 10 all numbers look good to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think it may possible that there is so much we don’t know about the life you lived that we don’t even know the questions to ask. Or maybe that’s just me. For instance I didn’t think to ask how you made coffee until I saw a picture of how you made coffee and now I’m still really super curious. (Like if I were a cat I’d be poking my nose in things a lot but not doing anything dumb enough to kill me. What number is that on the sliding scale?)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What does 42 mean to you?
    Do you care that Han shot first?
    Which Doctor is your favorite?
    Where are you planning to visit first after probation ends?
    How many words into your book are you?
    Are you getting enough sleep?
    What can we help you with?

    Liked by 10 people

  9. I am very curious about you and your circumstances, but probably about the wrong things, because I’d like to think that once the information was offered, there would be no judgment as I hope anyone who knew my story, after having their questions answered, would not judge me, but I can’t guarantee it so I won’t ask. I will say your situation frightens me because what happened to you are all of my worst fears (losing my partner, having my freedom stripped, labelled because of mistakes.) You seem hopeful and honest about your struggles, which commands respect.


    Liked by 2 people

  10. I love the idea of an AMA on here. I’m not sure that I have any real questions to ask at this time, but I love the idea. I’m definitely going to watch and see what comes up in this thread.

    I used to be the overly curious person who would have lots of questions. It’s the journalist in me. Now I know so many young widows and felons, which seems a really bizarre thing to type. But, I do. All are good people and I’ve watched as everyone has had to adjust to their new normal. Life is crazy and we never know what to expect. It’s a good lesson for everyone to see that life rarely turns out how one plans and that there are good people who have crazy life situations and that’s really all that it is. We shouldn’t brand anyone, because we don’t know their circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If you could meet five historical figures, who would they be?

    If you had a battle cry before using your superpowers for truth and justice, what would it be?

    What is your absolute most favorite coffee ever?

    I think those are the three most pressing questions I have on my mind. You’re doing a great job with your other posts, that my curiosity is for the most part sated.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I just want to say I’m really sorry your husband died when you were in prison. That doesn’t seem fair at all, especially since you were so close to getting out. I read his updates here on your blog. My heart goes out to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You have good people here, who are willing to be polite, or just plain don’t want to know (or who only want to know if you want to tell them).

    I wanna know some stuff, because my experience of women’s prison is limited to the musical ‘Chicago’, one documentary, a verrrrry old series called ‘Bad Girls’, and you.

    So I’mma ask, and if I’m too impolite, feel free to not answer.

    Do the guards bend the rules for their favourites?
    Do they really drag you out of the courtroom in chains and take you straight there?
    Do you arrive with nothing but the clothes you stand in? Do they give you stuff? How does laundry work (do you have name labels in your clothes? In your underwear?)
    Is there a ‘queen’ of the prison who seems to be the big boss, and everyone answers to her?
    Are the guards really bastards who goad prisoners and beat them up on the sly?
    Is there vigilante justice for those the other prisoners deem beyond the pale?
    Does everyone have a tv in their cell and just sit around all day?
    Do you make mailbags?
    Do people have bitches?
    Did anyone try to seduce you because you were new?
    Is the loss of liberty REALLY that much of a punishment, if you have all the other stuff?
    DO you have all the other stuff?
    Is there a black market?
    Did anyone try to escape?
    What was Christmas like there?
    Were there opportunities for your academic development?
    Did they do random cell searches for contraband?
    Are there privileges which can be revoked as punishment for rulebreaking?
    Were there books?
    How do they help you reintegrate?

    That’s all for now ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What is your ethnic heritage? Where are your family roots? Where do you feel YOUR roots are?

    I don’t feel as though I have much in the way of roots, and I’m always curious about other people’s heritage. Whether ethnic, geographical, whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My curiosity is quite quelled ( alliteration much) by your blog as you share what actually matters of yourself. The devil is in the details. I already feel as if I know you better than most of my family.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m wildly curious, in a “I must Google this immediately” kind of way, but I’m very conscious of asking something that would make someone uncomfortable or cause them pain, so I don’t ask people a lot of questions.

    So maybe, how was it to not have access to Google? (I would probably explode). Did you ask people if they knew answers or remembered or did you make lists of questions to look up when you could (or ask someone to do it for you)? Were there encyclopedias? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I wonder if the questions come the way they do because people relate your experience to something familiar. They know someone who had a prison experience, an uncle or their salon person’s boyfriend’s sister, and think it’s similar. Or if what you’ve lived is so far removed from their existence but to be hip or yo appear in the know, they ask something they think is innocuous. Sorry, my psychoanalytic side is showing …


  18. The question is, what would you like to tell about yourself? Not all questions deserve (or should receive) answers, and for every person those questions are different. So…coffee?


  19. I’m going to be very impolite (but feel free not to answer etc) :

    Your first period? Stacey Ann Chin like? Mine was a dramatic. I thanked God haha.
    If there is one person you could pinch real hard who would that be?
    Did you ever feel anger towards your parents?
    Why do men think sex means nothing to us?
    Did people ever exotify you?
    The first time you punched someone?
    Your first crush (human crush.. mine was inspector gadget but that didn’t count I found out?)
    Why are men such pigs?
    Do you miss prison? (I know this is highly inappropriate but I wonder or maybe things about prison… ok no… maybe I should delete this or not.. I think I would just because at times I can get really accustomed to a routine and place and then I long for it)
    Those people that got you in there am I allowed to send them turds? I don’t like them.
    How far is that book coming along?
    Do you ever emo-eat/binge when your upset? If so what is your fix-food?
    Do you eat odd combinations of food like crispy bacon with pecan ice cream and potato chips (I so love this)
    Do you like white socks on men? I think it should be forbidden.
    What would you want to achieve the coming year? The coming two years? And the coming years?
    What would you want your legacy to look like?
    Do you like chess?
    Have you ever played strip poker? i haven’t I get all OCD.. butt stains on the chairs.. that’s a no-no
    If a young girl would have sex what would you advice her. Or any woman that’s about to sleep with a man for the first time.
    You think men secretly like sparkles too?
    Do you think Donald Trump wasn’t cuddled enough as a child?
    Is potato chips a real thing or is Iluminati at play here?
    Do you think the devil exists?
    Is there life on other planets?
    What’s the worst thing you did when drunk?
    What is the one thing you don’t want to write about?
    Will you write about that?

    This is more an advice question. I’m contemplating dropping out of business school and joining art school. Bad idea?

    Ok now I’m really starting to have more questions stopping here.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow. You have some gumption and an amazing attitude. I want to ask “why?” but it feels invasive. And I really want to say I am sorry you lost your husband ~6 months ago and ask how you doing and if you are managing your grief but that phrase annoys me; as someone who has “managed” too much grief myself I can say it’s an unruly beast and something of a Phoenix so instead please just know I’m sorry he is gone and you are starting over in more ways than one. Glad I found your blog. Breath of fresh air you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. “why” what? Why I went to jail or why I’m doing the AMA? Or? 🙂

      Grief is a truly unwieldy thing but for the most part… I’m okay. I have a strong enough support network to catch me after any fall.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. On that curiosity scale, I’m 11. I need to know about everything I come across that I don’t already know. Hey, it’s great when focussed for easily learning new stuff. But it can lead to a lot of procrastination and timelapses, like, “where did the afternoon go?”
    Directed at people, I’m curious, but too shy and/or polite to ask the blatant questions – usually. But sometimes, if you are going to ask a difficult question, may as well make it a good one!
    Came here primarily to say thanks for the inspiration you give to other writers, especially {A} because that rubs off on me as well. So, like, Thanks for being you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for being you because if you’re close enough to be inspired by A, you’re close enough to have inspired her as well. And since I’m inspired by her, I must be inspired by you too. And now I’m 11 curious about you so as soon as I’m off a phone and on a real device, I’ll pop on over. 🙂

      Timelapses of Curious Minds needs to be a book. Or at least a post. :). Bit as to questions regarding me, ask away. I haven’t run into one yet that I wouldn’t answer. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I don’t have a huge bunch of questions, but I do wonder, if you’re musical and play an instrument, or a crafter and specialise in say, knitting or crochet, are you allowed to keep up the music and/or craft in prison?

    Love you, Ra. ❤



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