The Infamous Three-Letter Question


My daughter is starting to ask “Why?” to everything that happens.

Most parents get annoyed by it, but I’ve decided to engage her, because I don’t want to stifle her curiosity, or give her any indication that asking “Why?” is at all a bad thing.

For instance, I showed her Disney’s The Muppets (2011) for the first time yesterday. “Daddy loves this movie,” I told her.


“Because it’s hilarious.”


“Because it’s so well written.”


“Because the writers took pride in their work and took their time writing it.”


“Because they wanted the movie to live up to the anticipated hype.”


“Because they had a lot to live up to in order to match the the Muppets’ legacy.”


“Because bad movies don’t add anything positive to the entertainment culture. But good movies contribute positively and bring new ideas to the table.”

And so on. I love that she’s asking why. It gives us loads to talk about. Who knows what paths the three-worded question can take us! But I’d better be careful because I have the propensity to make up things if I don’t know the answer.


I have a “Why” for you. Why have we only had one J.K. Rowling in the last two decades? Why are good bestselling books so hard to come by? With as many people who are trying to become published authors, why do we hardly hear about breakout authors?

I have a suggested answer to these questions. Check out this weekend’s post I wrote about whether literary agents really are necessary to the publishing industry: Writer’s Cut Out the Middle Man!

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

9 thoughts on “The Infamous Three-Letter Question

  1. There are so few because people settle for mediocrity and look simply for escape, not quality escape. There are better writers, from a technical standpoint, than Rowling who will never sell as many books as her and sales don’t necessarily reflect quality. Just look at how well 50 shades did which has all the writing nuance of a high school freshman writing about the first time they got to second base. Also, I think you meant “three-letter” question, not “three-word”. Very interesting post, though. Definitely thought provoking.

  2. My view is the people examining what is talent and what is not – it is a sign of our times whether one becomes notorious versus successful. Rather than examine the genuine talent and allure of a gifted person it seems it is lost in a sea of muck with a certain brand. This also leads into films and the lack of creativity – most are erupting from books or reboots. So in order to end this philosophical rant – artists are left to their own devices because the ‘tools’ in play are feeble. Now we appreciate and support each other hoping to reach far and wide…not a five minute handshake and goodbye.

    1. It’s time for us to start working together. Yes it’s competitive, but the industries have set us against each other for some reason, when really, we should be spurring each other on.

      1. I face this in my current work environment. Culture has become so toxic and there are several reasons why, however, the time for talking is over. Acts of kindness, compassion, empowerment need to dominate versus the flood of negative messages and totems we see daily. I do my part, you do yours and together we change the world.

  3. I’ve enjoyed conversations with three- and four-year-olds all around the world and have concluded that “Why” is asked so often because the answer changes every time a child asks it. Not so with “What,” “Who,” “When,” “Where” or even “How.? When I realized this, I stopped being frustrated by the constant repetition of “Why” and started instead watching the child’s response to see if he or she had figured out *why* the answers keep changing, not just noticing *that* the answers change.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: