The Bane Of All Curious Minds

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2019-06-21 12:00:00 No comments

Leave it to me to feel like my condition can be encapsulated by a throwaway line from a book, and not remember which book. "I'm interested in everything," says the main character, and then immediately thinks to himself: That is, when I'm interested in anything. This has long been my problem and I have yet to find an effective way to tame it. I'm interested in a little of everything, and always so. Bloody incurable, that's me!

Sitting on my desk is a little spiral-bound notebook I use to write down the most immediate and pressing things that need to get done, and assign some semblance of priority to: Clean dryer vent. Buy more mulch for front beds. But it doesn't track any of the larger, more nebulous projects that I find myself getting ensnared in: writing the code that now powers this site, futzing around with my own programming language, taking a stab at creating a video game, etc.

Every time one of these things starts to ascend, so does the guilt -- the guilt of leaving behind my writing, the one thing I can't help but think is the most valuable thing I have to give to the world, arrogant snot that I am. But at the same time, I do want to know w I'hat it's like to try and create a programming language (even a tiny one), write a video game (even a not very good one), develop a custom CMS (even if it only gets used in one place).

Modern life provides a curious person with innumerable ways to be distracted. Most nights before bed I pop open the OpenLibrary site and browse a feed of all recently returned titles. It's like a used bookstore in my browser. When I lived in Manhattan, most every weekend I ran down to the Strand on Sunday morning and browsed the $1 racks religiously to see what might turn up. This is nearly as good, with the added bonus that I don't have to lug anything home. But, again, maybe there's an advantage to having to leave one's house and browse the racks in person: it makes you far more conscious of how your time is to be spent. Time thieves like TVTropes and Wikipedia and YouTube never seem like time thieves until you realize it's 2 in the ayem and your eyes are smarting.

With all this comes yet another temptation, the temptation to become an enforced dullard, to give up on feeding one's curiosity because there seems no way to do it without behavior that seems akin to feeding an addiction. Not happening. I don't know what the long-term solution is to being insatiably curious, but I know that isn't it.

Tags: creativity creators