Sessions at Butler Writers always start the same way. Questions, questions, questions. What’s your favorite book? What do you want to be when you grow up? What form of potato do you feel like today? You know, classics.
Even though it’s not original, my favorite favorite question is What’s your favorite food? I’m always amazed by peoples’ abilities to vividly and intensely describe what makes their bellies smile. Everyone has something. Personally, I could talk to you about the glorious makeup of chimichangas for days (my stomach literally just growled). But for J—, my friend and mentee at Broad Ripple, his favorite was “pizza… no wait! Ice-cream! Ugh.” He couldn’t decide. “They’re both favorites.” J— sat for a time attempting to access previous experiences with both delicacies and weigh the pros and cons of each.
After a minute of intense contemplation, a brilliant idea came to me, and I decided to enter into J—‘s mind space to help him out. Taking a deep breath, I started: “Ok. Think about this…” J— turned toward me with wide-eyes, hoping that I could help him sort through his conundrum. “What if you made…”
“… ice-cream pizza.”
^ J—‘s face.
In that moment, an otherworldly peace consumed my body giving me confidence that if I died right there, my life would be complete.
After our Eureka! moment, we attempted (with great success) to diagram the newly-ideated ice-cream pizza. That day, J— and I went home utterly satisfied. But J— wasn’t done. Between that session and the next, he showed his mom what we had thought of, and…
“She said we can make ice cream pizza!” J— told me when we met again.
That is the story of how I realized the important of asking what if. And that is why my main goal at Butler Writers is now to latch onto the ideas of my mentees and give them the freedom and encouragement to take what they have (abilities to dance, write, sing, aspirations, and favorite foods) and use them to create something incredible…ice-cream-pizza-incredible.
Hunter Hughes is a senior Marketing major.