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Any Questions?


Cristy Clarke would like to ask you a question or two. Or 20. The Orinda mother of three has recently released three versions of TableTopics, boxes of conversational questions for adults, families, and kids.

DIABLO: Where did you get the idea for TableTopics?

CLARKE: About two years ago, I was going to a cocktail party with my husband, and I started to complain that all the conversations were going to be the same old boring topics. Work. Our kids. The weather. Any my husband said, "Why don’t you do something about that?"

DIABLO: So this is a cocktail party game?

CLARKE: No, it’s not really a game. These are questions that provoke conversations and communication. They are really good for family dinners. Growing up in Lafayette, my parents were really big on talking—not watching television—during dinner. I think there is a trend back toward this kind of family time at dinner.

DIABLO: Why is this good for children?

CLARKE: I think it is very important for young people to learn to be good conversationalists. It helps them form connections in life. Stanford recently released a study of successful MBAs that suggested that success had more to do with conversational skills than grade point averages.

DIABLO: How did you come up with the questions?

CLARKE: Every time I had to carpool my kids somewhere, I tried to think of a question. Every time I got in the car, I’d ask myself, What are the things I really want to know about?

DIABLO: Let’s try some of your questions. For what reason would you want an award to be given in your honor?

CLARKE: Something about being a great parent. The thought that your kids would recognize that you made a difference in their lives would be good.

DIABLO: What one thing would you change about the way you look?

CLARKE: I’m self-conscious about my lips.

DIABLO: What kind of car would you like to drive, if money was not an issue?

(Laughs) Something with just two seats, so I wouldn’t have to carpool the kids around for once.

TableTopics costs $28 per set, at Pleasant Thoughts in Danville, Lazy K in Lafayette, Domus in Pleasanton, Kitchen Table and Z Gallerie in Walnut Creek, www.tabletopics.com.

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