Interview is one of my favorite magazines. i can take or leave the sellebrity but i love the idea of an entire publication devoted to interviews.

if i were the editor-in-chief, i would shift the focus to ordinary people. i would invite grandparents to interview their grandchildren, sisters to interview their brothers, boyfriends to interview their girlfriends, fathers to interview their kids, students to interview their teachers, fans to interview their heroes, friends to interview each other. i would illustrate the articles with portraits that these people do of each other. the point, of course, is that everyone is interesting.

that's what i always liked about dating. as awkward or stressful as it ever was, it was also fun. like reading, it was an opportunity to glimpse the world from someone else's point of view.

that's why i enjoy interviews so much. there were years actually when my favorite hobby was interviewing people. my passion was discovering other people's passions. i loved finding the question that would get someone to open up, to get really excited. the subjects were surprisingly diverse. i've seen people light up over everything from capitalism to chevy trucks. on a camping trip, i made a fast friend by asking a stranger about algebra.

when i lived in oregon, i ate my lunches at a downtown park. i brought a book with me but i was frequently distracted. people passed like clockwork. the same people walked on the same sidewalks. they crossed at the same corners. patterns emerged very quickly. it made me curious. "who are these people? what's happening in their lives?" after a week or two, the park began to feel like a library. my neighbors were the books. from my point of view, the only thing that separated me from their stories was courage and a few choice questions.

which brings me to this comic strip. it was inspired by my girlfriend, christine. she actually did this to people when she was young. she would say "hi" to strangers and, if they didn't answer, she would say it even louder. the first few questions are ones that she really asked. as soon as i heard the story, i wanted to draw it.

and it had to be interactive because, as adorable as little christine would have been to me and others, i bet plenty of people considered her a pest.

it's worth mentioning that the actual christine studied journalism in college. one of the few vocations that requires a person to do exactly what she did when she was a tot: interview strangers.

in keeping with my love of questions, here are some of my favorites:

what is the first thing you remember?
what's your favorite game?
when you dream, what do you dream about?
if you could be famous for anything, what would you be famous for?
what is the greatest thing that you have ever done?
what is the worst?
describe the best moment of your life.
describe the worst.
how do you make sense of it?

and, finally, Pivot's Questions:
what is your favorite word?
what is your least favorite word?
what turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
what turns you off?
what is your favorite cuss word?
what sound or noise do you love?
what sound or noise do you hate?
what profession other than your own would you like to try?
what profession would you not like to do?
assuming that heaven exists, what would you like to god to say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

© 2004 rama hughes