In the story of Rumpelstiltskin, there is a description of a search for the name of a mysterious stranger. After two or three failed attempts, the name is found by a person (maybe a soldier) who goes listening in the woods. There they overhear Rumpelstiltskin dancing around a fire in glee, singing and celebrating their own name aloud. I think that’s the story anyway.
This exercise is for a kind of longform knowledge frottage. When you have a question you are curious about, consciously decide to find out slowly and unevenly. Instead of resorting to the internet, or even the library for an answer, ask the question to people every so often. Go listening in the woods. Use the question to break up awkward silences or to ease a lonely feeling. Listen for the nuances between responses to your question. Try to ask people you don’t know very well or at all. Accept partial or provisional responses.
This exercise was contributed by Fiona Hallinan (http://www.notalittlepony.com/).