“People Also Ask” originated from noticing the questions that my search engine suggested I might also ask, questions other people were apparently asking. It made me search what other people searched for and I found a list of the most common questions posed to search engines in the previous year. The questions, to me, told whole and heartbreaking stories. Thinking of people—enough of them to be statistically significant—turning to a computer to ask questions like “does he like me” and other sillier questions like why your face is on your head showed us in our most unguarded and sometimes mundane moments. I put the text together in Keynote and then looked through film in the public domain on archive.org. It didn’t take long to find “In the Suburbs,” a promotional film for the suburbs made by Redbook (where the economic interest in promoting the idea of the nuclear family became sickeningly clear) and match the questions to an earlier generation who had to turn to something like women’s magazine for their silly, practical, and desperate questions.
About The Author
Rita Mae Reese is the author of The Book of Hulga. Her work has won numerous awards, including a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Stegner Fellowship, and a “Discovery”/The Nation award. She designs Lesbian Poet Trading Cards for Headmistress Press, is in the bluegrass band Coulee Creek, and serves as the Literary Arts Director at Arts + Literature Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. She recently completed her first novel.