|"What's on the table? I'll jump up to see. A vase! What's in it? Are they edible?"|
Modern science has a more favorable opinion of curiosity. Older people who are curious, creative, and flexible and who continue to learn new things on average retain their mental faculties longer and even stay physically healthier than their stuck-in-the-mud contemporaries. That's good news for us writers, who often find ourselves chastised for spending too much time in our chairs and not enough in the gym.
Graduate school killed my curiosity. I was so burned out when I finished my doctorate that I had no interest in learning anything remotely intellectual. For many years, my creativity was diverted into cooking, herb gardening, quilting, learning and playing new musical instruments, and other activities that favored manual skills over mental ones.
In 2000, a new appreciation of my own mortality made me rethink my priorities and led me to start writing fiction again, this time with serious dedication. And a funny thing happened. The more I researched and learned things, the more things I wanted to learn. Each new story or book led to my having several new interests, each of which spawned an interest in several related areas. My library of nonfiction and reference books grew at an increasing rate.
I'm in the early stages of my fiction career. It may never amount to much; it's too early to tell. But even if I am a complete failure at writing fiction, I will always be glad that I pursued it. It opened my brain to the world again and made me eager to savor new sights and sounds and facts and ideas and philosophies. Many of the friends I made through writing organizations shared my new curiosity about the world, and I feel privileged to have encountered such questing, churning, creative minds.
The third novel in Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series is called Life, the Universe and Everything. One day soon, when you ask me what my interests are, I'll answer "life, the universe, and everything!" What a wonderful new life writing has given me!
Has writing made you more curious? How has writing enriched and improved your life? I'm curious to know whether you're as happy as I am that you write.
Thanks for stopping by Novel Spaces today. I'll be blogging here again on September 5.