Curiosity (Part 1) "Introduction"

Posted on November 14, 2008

An Ode to Curiosity

Of all the human attributes, tendencies, motivations or instincts, I applaud what I regard as the great virtue of curiosity.
Humans who show little or no curiosity have lost a lot. Curiosity is child’s play. It is a natural gift from whatever Deity you worship or revere. And if you don’t, then it’s a truly pleasing and challenging side effect of the random mutations and genetic coincidences that spewed out humankind -for better or for worse- from the primordial genetic soup.
Curiosity first led a thoughtful teenager to question the existence of God, and I have been doing that ever since. I have come up with different conclusions at different times, but it was (and is) curiosity that motivates me.
It was curiosity that first made me have a go at driving my cousin’s motorbike. And that was five minutes that changed my life. It was curiosity that made me wonder if I could jump out of a perfectly good airplane. There was no good reason that I could think of, and no likely reward. But I did it anyway, and then I had to go back to do it again, because it was over too quickly, and I missed too much. Doing my 100th free fall, from fourteen thousand feet, I remember idly wondering what I thought I was going to achieve. It was curiosity that led me to wonder if I could fly a loop in my old asthmatic open cockpit biplane. Having read a book, I went up and taught myself. And I also taught myself to fly Hammerheads, vertical rolls, Lomcevaks, and even outside loops. Remarkably stupid it was, in retrospect, but it was also a whole lot of fun. Blame it on curiosity. Already a three thousand hour fixed wing pilot, it was curiosity that led me to wonder if I could hover a helicopter. And look where that got me…

It was -and is- curiosity that makes me want to reach out to other people. People are very interesting, and very different.
The older I get, the less I am inclined to rush to judgment. I have certainly long since given up the notion that I know it all. I may not even know very much at all. I may just be a half blind man, sitting in a darkened room. But somewhere, some Kind Presence has lifted a small corner of a heavy curtain. It’s not so much that I can see the bright daylight, waiting to flood in, given half a chance. It’s more that I can sense it. I feel it’s there. I just wish I was more receptive to it.

It was curiosity that drove me to write.


Photo by Leonbidon

If you are a detractor, you might wish to snort at that choice of verb. I don’t mind if you call it "scribbling". I’m not offended. I’m perfectly content to indulge in this passion. It was curiosity that drove me to publish some works on a website called "Writers Cafe". If you are writer with a competitive nature, who wishes to be recognized amongst your peers, then that may well be your present or future hang out. It didn’t suit me after a while. I didn’t like the competitiveness, the league tables, the most recognized list. I found myself shooting up the list of the "most viewed". I found myself getting involved in site politics. Sticking up for writers who were getting beaten up. Then I realized my writing style was being influenced by what I perceived to be the way to get the most views. I was writing for an audience. I wasn’t sure I liked that.
Then, to cap it all, I realized I was dialing in to the site, and eagerly checking to see if I had climbed the league tables at all.
And I got a guilty satisfaction when I would see I had climbed from position one hundred and twenty three to position one hundred and nineteen. Vanity had set in. I had lost my balance.
The hate mails I then started to get, from rabid fans defending some really atrocious "writers" (heavily into smut and obscenity and abuse of fellow writers), actually helped me a lot. It was an easy decision to pull the plug. I quit, and moved on. I wanted something else. Rather than be a Writers Cafe painter, in a noisy room full of painters, all furiously hurling color at blank canvas, and arguing bitterly about who was the best at it, I chose a different route.
It was my friend Curiosity -again- that made me wonder if I could set up my own website.


Photo by jelene

My own little paint room…
It was as if I was leaving the large, noisy, argumentative painting hall, with the hundreds and hundreds of Cafe painters going hard at it, and walking away, up the stairs, and looking for a room with a balcony. I would be alone, but the view would likely be much better.
All I needed now was an architect. Curiosity drove me along. I engaged one, and the new, small room we started working on was called "Writers’ Haven". Money exchanged hands, but the results were disappointing. Promises were made by the coder, that were simply never honored. Time deadlines were pushed further and further back. The few painters we got, drifted away. The facilities were simply not up to it.
Eventually, I got tired. I simply ceased believing a word that first coder architect told me, and moved on. I found a different architect, and the result you see before you, www.writers harbor.org…

And here in this room I sit, contentedly scribbling away.
Mostly on my ownsome.
The Harbor is, to all extents and purposes, pretty well exactly what I wanted. I enjoy many of the site’s technical features, which afford a lot of capability. And are quietly being improved upon all the time.
There are of course, hundreds and hundreds of writing websites. More spring up all the time. Some are motivated by dollar signs (advertising) I imagine, others I’m sure are run by sincere art lovers.

We’ll see what happens. Curiosity reigns. Our Cat, Pintle, in the photograph above, has the right idea. Early every morning, while it’s still dark, she peers out the kitchen window, at the dawning new day. Eager to see what’s new, what’s happening, and what’s different.
Her whole being, her body, her head, her ears, signal a high stage of alert. She is awake, aware, and curious.

Awake, aware, and curious…

There simply is no better start to another writing day.

Francis Meyrick
(c)

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on May 23, 2009, 10:27 pm


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1 response to Curiosity (Part 1) "Introduction"

  1. if you don’t, then it’s a truly pleasing and challenging side effect of the random mutations and genetic coincidences that spewed out humankind -for better or for worse- from the primordial genetic soup.

    Uplifting, funny, lovely.

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