Monday, January 06, 2014

curiouser and curiouser

I recently saw a headline that said Why A New Year’s Theme Works Better Than a Resolution. My first thought was Fuck. I failed at my resolutions just by making them? My second thought was I needed a theme for 2014.

The Kleins like a theme. My mom always let my sister and I pick out our friends’ birthday gifts, but she strongly discouraged two-parters composed of discordant parts. Pound Puppy + Barbie outfit? Nope. Pound Puppy +  paw print stationery? Thumbs up from Mom.

Pound Puppy + Pound Purry: another acceptable combination.
Speaking of my mom, I’ve decided that my theme for 2014 is going to be CURIOSITY. She was a librarian, relentlessly curious to the point that she may have over-helped me with research papers, creating a shoemaker’s-child situation. Instead of learning how to do my own research, I married a girl who thrives off meticulously planning trips, and who reads six articles about any movie she sees before she sees it (and another five after). So I continue to outsource my research.

I have a powerful lazy streak. I compensate by surrounding myself with curious and ambitious people. As previously discussed, the ambitious ones sometimes make me feel like a barnacle, so let’s focus on the curious. The people who say things like, “I’ve been doing some reading about the 1893 World’s Fair.” The people who look up their bands’ favorite bands. The people who strike up a conversation with the barista. The people who try new restaurants and new religions. Who ask “what if?” and “what do you think about…?” before spewing their opinions.

I think Brodie Foster Hubbard is one such person. He’s a writer I talked to at last month’s Razorcake party, and on Friday he invited me to hang out in his studio* as he and fellow zine artist Daisy Noemi got “matching friend tattoos” and recorded for his Shakeytown Radio Hour podcast. Daisy’s tattoo artist friend Lesley Perdomo was transferring a drawing of a two-inch book with ZINE LIFE on the cover onto carbon paper when I arrived.

Matching friend tattoos!
Brodie set up his laptop and mic. Daisy told a story about getting stoned with her boss, which ended with the boss’s child getting six stitches and Daisy impersonating the boss on the phone. (Note: Neither Daisy nor her boss were responsible for the kid getting hurt.) Lesley set up her table and her light and her little pots of ink, and covered everything with baggies and saran wrap.

The tattooing began.

A girl named Amber joined us. She distributed Tootsie Rolls, which we ate goopily on air. We talked about Paris is Burning, and somehow that turned into an idea for Harry Potter slash fiction called Hogwarts is Burning. Throughout, Brodie mentioned a lot of zines and writers and bands and artists. Not in a name-dropping way. In the way of a curious person. Without any caffeine or alcohol, I felt all buzzed about what the world might have to offer.

It’s hard to be curious when you feel tired or not quite safe. You don’t think What’s behind that door? You think Oh my god, shut that door before something terrible comes through it. I spent a lot of 2013 feeling tired and not quite safe. I wouldn’t say that I’m currently full of energy and certainty, but I’m closer. This week, I’ll be starting a new full-time job for the first time in eleven years (although I’ll only be doing it part-time for a little while). It’s a little scary, a little bittersweet. But I think it will be a great environment in which to practice curiosity. I’ll let you know how it goes.

*In Highland Park, naturally. Because HP is the podcasting capital of the world. Well, there are at least three podcasts recorded here.

1 comment:

Claire said...

Congratulations on the new job!

And curiosity is a great theme!