Monday, October 17, 2011

Curiouser and Curiouser

I love to learn new things.  Given my druthers, I would have been a full-time student all my adult life. 

(I get that the phrase "curiouser and curiouser" has less to do with wanting to learn vocabulary or how a steam engine works, but in fact with the opium-induced tale by Lewis Carroll of Alice falling down the rabbit hole and a whole preponderance of things making her adventures in Wonderland "curiouser".  But, I like the phrase.  So I'm hijacking it, and using it out of context, for this post.)

The day I learned the word "why", my mom used to say was the day that changed her life.  After explaining "why this" and "why that" for a few years, she finally bought me a full set of World Book Encyclopedias, along with a set of "Childcraft".  Do you remember Childcraft?  Man, I loved those books.  And my encyclopedias.  I loved scouring the photos and captions, learning how things work, what is photosynthesis, how to make a sand candle.  I could spend hours and hours.  I loved writing reports in grade school.  In high school and college, my favorite tests were essay format because I had to learn enough about a topic to be able to write a whole lot about it.

I was sort of a nerd.  Cute (naturally), but nerdy.

Even today, if I'm curious about something, I'll first try Wikipedia, or do a broader Google search.  I often find myself wishing I had an excuse to research something and write a paper about it.  Sometimes, when I get hooked on a topic because I'm reading a book, I'll go a little crazy with it.  Let me give you an example.  I just read Leaving Van Gogh by Carol Wallace.  (A great book, by the way, if you're a fan of Van Gogh or are just looking for a good read.)  I've always been intrigued by Van Gogh.  When I studied in France, Dear Theo was required reading, and thus my fascination began.  But I digress.   So, I finished Leaving Van Gogh the other day, which is a work of fiction (brilliantly done, by the way).  And because it was fictional, but based on Vincent and his Dr. Gachet, my curiosity about Dr. Gachet and his relationship with Van Gogh was piqued.  So, what did I do?  Requested all the relevent books I could find from my library system.  When they arrived, I learned as much as I could about Van Gogh's time in Auvers, and at the asylum in St. Remy, and his relationship with his brother Theo.  Fascinating.  And when I get my fill, I'm off to the next topic that pops up. 

The same thing happened when I saw the movie "Frida".  And when I fell in love with a portrait by Matisse.  When I got sucked into The Tudors a few years ago...needed to learn all I could about Henry VIII.  More trips to the library, more Wikipedia searches.

So, although research papers and essay exams are no longer a part of my daily routine, I continue to learn, I still ask "why", and I'm always curiouser and curiouser.

How about you?  What are you curious about?

1 comment:

Ornery's Wife said...

I am curious about what you are working on these days. I LOVE seeing your work! :)