Setting off down the road(s)

Hi there. Welcome to the blog of Three Roads Trivia, a Toronto-based agency that researches, writes, and asks original, entertaining, and informative trivia. I started this company, and this blog, as a natural continuation of my hobby/part-time occupation as a trivia writer. I started writing trivia in earnest and for pay after I finished my Master’s degree in 2012 and found myself with quite a bit of time on my hands. My formal education is in Classical Archaeology (that’s the stuff that really old people left around the Mediterranean for us to find and argue about), and although I love it, that’s a fairly narrow field for someone who, like me, is interested in basically everything. So I started jotting down questions about interesting facts as they popped into my head (usually while doing something else), found someone who was willing to pay me as a freelancer, and my semi-career was up and running.

To me, trivia is more than a fact or a datum, some piece of information isolated from its context. Everything knowable can (and should) be imagined not just as a floating bubble suspended in nothingness, but as one node part of a vast web of connections, each of which holds itself up with the support of all the other nodes around it, as far away as you care to look. Every bit of trivia opens a path that, if followed, is inevitably going to lead to some completely unexpected discovery that’s amazing in its own right, and has its own connections to everything else you know. This is, in an abstract and highly simplified sense, how we remember; replace “facts” with “neuronal connections” and you’re on your way to the concrete.

The name “Three Roads Trivia,” then, has a couple meanings. The first and most straightforward is that that’s what the word “trivia” means, etymologically: “tri,” ‘three,’ and “via,” ‘road,’ in Latin (hence that beautiful picture up there. You’ll notice Latin comes up a lot around here – that’s what happens when you major in Classics). It came to its definition a convoluted, not entirely understood, and somewhat disputed path – from “crossroads” to “common” to something like “what anyone ought to know,” and then picked up by a couple nerds in the 1960s to be used for the new general knowledge competitions they were organizing. But that’s just the obvious meaning. As I said before, each piece of trivia opens roads – roads that take an eager learner in one of many possible directions. Follow one of them, and you’ll come to another trivium, another crossroads, where you’ll decide again which to follow. You can keep on like this for however long you feel like. So, OK, three roads is definitely not enough, but it’s better than two, and who could resist such a near-perfect Latin pun?

This website if basically going to be a place for me to expound on the interesting connections I discover while writing my trivia, perhaps mixed with some of my less directed musings as they relate to knowing things. Eventually there will be a page with some rotating examples of questions, and probably several more things that I’m not envisioning right now. If you’re interested in having Three Roads help you with some trivia at an event you’re organizing, you can find out how to do that on the Contact page above. Otherwise, I hope you’ll check back here every once in a while, and that you find the stuff I have to say at least interesting enough to return.