Fandom carries with it an inherent curiosity, and I think curiosity is what allows us to be open and optimistic and to allow into our lives experiences that we would otherwise be closed off to. We’re confronted all the time with so many instances and so much information that almost requires a shutting down—almost requires us to become inert… to become frightened. There’s something about fandom’s relationship to curiosity that keeps us moving forward into the world and into the process of discovery, and I think to balance that with the things that feel more frightening and uncertain… It helps me keep optimism as part of the ingredients in my life, and it helps me live in the present. Even if you’re discovering something old for the first time, the process of allowing something new into your life I think speaks to an allowance that’s important.
A person can only have so much expertise, but if you can sell your ignorance and ability to root out answers, you’ll be employable forever, understood frequently, and relatable always.
It’s basically recursion. You start with a problem that spits out an answer. You feed the answer back into the problem and get another answer, which you put right back into the problem.
I used to feel guilty about books I own but haven’t read. They’d sit in piles making me feel unworthy as a writer, and reader. And no matter how many books I’d read in a year, I’d always find myself buying more. I couldn’t win. It was a destructive cycle and it drove me mad. One day I realized there was another way to frame my behavior. The goal should not be efficiency because efficiency makes you conservative. As a writer I need an ambitious curiosity, not a safe one. It’s good to take bets on books at the limits of my comfort zone.
This is a casual prejudice that is not like the visceral hatred that plagued the early decades of Mormonism, […] but a symptom of a thoughtless incuriousness.
Life is interesting all over. Every life, properly understood, is compelling. Anyone aspiring to be an artist knows there’s no such thing as why-bother or nothing-to-see.
It’s an odd feature about the way human beings work that there are many things that we’re interested in that we don’t know if it’s acceptable to be interested in them. […] I think that’s the role of many, many art forms–to legitimate certain questions and certain sensitivities.
Sociological approaches to cultural taste often imply that taste differences are contrived, artificial, or reflect wasteful status-seeking. The result is that we appreciate taste differences less than we might and we become less curious. Neurological approaches imply that different individuals perceive different cultural mysteries and beauties. You can’t always cross the gap to understand the other person’s point of view, but at the very least you know something is there worth pursuing.
If you look inward and concentrate only on your own desires all the time, you end up having fun some of the time, but a large amount of the time you’re miserable and another portion of the time you’re bored. I’d rather be attentive and curious all the time so I just keep my eyes and ears open to the world beyond myself.
I’m a big believer in boredom. Boredom allows one to indulge in curiosity, and out of curiosity comes everything.
We have a limit, a very discouraging, humiliating limit: death. That’s why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end. It’s a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don’t want to die.
I was fascinated with Stendhal at 13 and with Thomas Mann at 15 and, at 16, I loved Chopin. Then I spent my life getting to know the rest. Right now, Chopin is at the very top once again. If you interact with things in your life, everything is constantly changing. And if nothing changes, you’re an idiot.