I can’t help it, I look for escapes. Whether it’s the depression talking or just the need to stimulate an intelligent mind, I’m constantly looking for stuff to do. While my attention span is generally pretty good, my interests are varied and my knowledge is eclectic. To put this more colorfully: I have no concept of the phrase, “curiosity killed the cat” and my mind is a dumping ground for random trivia.
Fortunately, the beauty of being a writer is that, sooner or later, everything comes in handy.
For instance: for a while I was on a fantasy writing forum, where one of my characters was half sea dragon (it’s complicated – just nod your head and assume you know what I’m talking about). To populate the underwater scenes, I turned to my limited knowledge of ocean life. It was not, unfortunately, enough. Several Nat Geo and Discover specials later, I learned something important: there was no need to make up dangerous and hostile creatures for my character to deal with – the ocean’s loaded with ’em.
This is kind of beside the point though. The thing is: I really enjoy learning. I love museums, I love books, I really like educational tv (though some of it is complete and utter b.s.), and I love having the internet to access all of this. Perfect example: I just spent the evening watching a Nat Geo special on gliders in the Asian rainforest. Certain snakes, lizards, frogs, and something that was once called a ‘flying lemur’ but turned out not to be a lemur at all (how do they decide these things) have evolved a way to glide and even maneuver, from tree to tree. It was all fascinating.
But what was the point? There wasn’t. I don’t need to know any of this. I just like looking at a tiny slice of life and going, “Hey, cool!”
Terry Pratchett once said: “In a universe so full of wonders, human being have invented boredom.” I’m not sure why this is, but there are days I find it remarkable that, with everything that’s out there, how is anyone truly bored.