Tuesday, 21 June 2016
“The constant happiness is curiosity.” Alice Munro
One of my favourite short story writers knew what she was talking about. Curiosity keeps us engaged in life on a moment-to-moment basis.
When I walk my dog in the park it's a delight for both of us. Every tree he sniffs, every unknown sound or smell he experiences makes him stop and observe. This makes me observe too. What does he see in the bushes? What kind of bird made that sound? He cocks his head to try to better understand. It is only in his doggy dreams that he attempts to work it out with his kicking legs and little yelps.
I'm not that different from my dog when I observe humans. I wonder what they're thinking and feeling. Body language illuminates a lot as does the sound of a person's voice. Like my dog I have dreams reflecting my daily experiences. Unlike my dog I tend to write it out to understand better. It's curiosity that gets my characters in this collection LOVE BITES engaged. Often they are drawn in to a situation or problem simply to satisfy their curiosity.
On that note, I am writing from a very different world this month surrounded by curious physicists. My husband is at a conference tucked away in a mountain retreat in France and I tagged along to write. When I (curiously) observe these scientists working out a problem or discussing a theory they do what many of us writers do: make notes on scraps of paper, write formulas on white boards, pace, pace, and pace again. What I envy is that they have a community around them to bounce ideas off each other. I am among them but not one of them. When they ask me what I'm writing they show interest but I cannot be 100% mathematically sure they understand what I mean. Curiosity though is what keeps our conversations going.