Yale has a wonderful writing class called Daily Themes. This class has been taught at Yale for over 100 years and requires students to write a story each day of about 500 words. I always wanted to take the class but never did. So I started to do some of the writing on my own based on the prompts my friend Aaron Gertler online from the 2015 class. My favorite one so far is:
Create a conversation between two characters in which everything said on either side is in the form of a question and every question advances the conversation. Avoid rhetorical questions and repetitions.
I hadn’t realized this but the instructor had put in a link to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s “Questions” game — which was what popped into my head as well. With that preamble, I now give you…
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at 40
How did we get here?
Weren’t we promised a happy and fulfilled life if we just gave our life to the company?
Isn’t that why we went to business school?
Wasn’t that the promise once we got out?
Do you feel likely we have climbed a giant mountain up through the clouds only to see more mountain?
Do you think we are at the top of the mountain and can finally see clearly?
Are we getting close to the end?
Do you feel like we are in that Tom Stoppard play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead?”
Or maybe Godot?
So what do we do now?
Should we change our focus and get off the hedonic treadmill?
But what would we do then?
Don’t Zen monks talk about this problem?
Could we leverage some of that?
Why do you always have to talk in business speak?
Aren’t you afraid of death?
Aren’t we dying every minute?
Do you think that’s the secret – living completely in the moment?
Is there any other way?
Why don’t we treat every moment as our last by being fearless and vulnerable and not afraid to fail?
Are you saying failure is good?
How can you have anything valuable without failure?
What about love and courage and accomplishment?
Isn’t that what I’m saying?