Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is."

^Stephen Fry. I'm slightly obsessed with Stephen Fry.

(I apologize in advance for how long this is. Sorry. I'm excited.)
New Year's Resolutions. In February.
I've never really made New Year's Resolutions, because I know myself well enough that I know I'm not going to keep them, so I generally don't even bother. Sometimes I'll have one in my head and think to myself, "It would be kind of nice if I did this," but that doesn't count, mostly because I do that all the time. But this year I made something of a little-r-resolution that happened to be kind of at the beginning of the year. So it's a new year's resolution, but not a New Year's Resolution. (For the record, I did make a capital-R-Resolution to get in shape, but... yeah, no)
Whatever the case, my resolution this year is to start thinking again.
"Wait, what?" (That's probably what you just said to your computer.)
Yeah. I want to start thinking again. I won't go into my very long rant about how little our public school system encourages creativity and free thought, but, in case you're wondering, it's basically not at all.
As I somehow made my way through high school, I found myself running out of creative ideas quickly and getting annoyed when I had to think of something outside the box. By my first year of college it was making me extremely unhappy, only I didn't realize that that was the reason.
I finally came to the realization that I'm happiest when I'm learning about things, and not just learning about them, but thinking about them, and not just thinking about them, but thinking about them in a broader context, how they can fit into other situations, how I can make them look different. I'm that annoying person who's always saying "Did you know that...?" at every possible moment, not because I'm a pedantic arse, but because I'm genuinely interested in whatever irrelevant fact I've just happened to remember.
(By the way, did you know that George Washington was taking his own pulse as he died?)
Last semester I found a podcast called "Stuff You Should Know" from (which is awesome, if you haven't been there). It's these two guys who talk about pretty much everything you could think of, from autopsies to exoskeletons. That podcast was kind of what got me started on this brain-improvement kick.
This semester I'm in a class called "The Films of Terry Gilliam," which is just as awesome as it sounds. Our homework for the first week was to watch Jabberwocky and make a collage. Last week we watched Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 and Monty Python and the Holy Grail and made a comic based on a poem. This week we have to (read: "get to") watch Time Bandits and make a flipbook.
This is my collage. I was really proud of myself for making actual art with actual meaning.
The point of the class is not just to analyze Terry Gilliam, which is great anyway, but it's also to be creative and use our hands to make things. It's about taking our noses out of our technology (says the chick currently staring at the computer) and going back into the library, picking up markers and glue and scissors, and creating whatever we think is relevant or interesting or beautiful. This class is what really made me want to bring myself back into the world of creativity and creation and start to think more deeply about the things I see around me.
This is my comic, based on Keats's Sonnet XVII. If you can't read the text on the comic (you probably can't; sorry), it's basically a guy who can't decide whether he likes where he lives or not.
So I've started reading again. I took a trip to Barnes & Noble last weekend and used the gift cards I'd been saving for a year, and then that same day I stayed up late finishing one of the books I had bought for the first time in who-knows-how-long (it was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green--holy moly was it amazing. Totally worth being tired the rest of the week. Heck, I would have stayed up for days to read it).
I got some books of poetry from the University library, because I'm tired of not knowing anything about poets.
I've been looking around for German TV shows I can watch on YouTube, because I'm sad that I'm losing my German skills.
I brought my Italian textbook and a Danish Rosetta Stone CD from home because I want to expand my linguistic repertoire, which is a phrase I just made up. It sounds official, right?
And I'm back here, on my blog, where I've been neglecting to post anything, because, despite the fact that very few people actually see it, it's still a chance for me to do something interesting with my brain. And besides, I missed writing. Since my ideas are generally sparse, I guess writing about my weird self is an okay alternative.
There's a commercial for where this woman talks about how much Lumosity helped her brain get smarter or whatever, and she says something along the lines of, "It was easy to work out my body, but working out my brain was hard!" It always makes me laugh and then feel a little bit weird inside. Maybe I'm just more of a nerd than I realized, but that sentence always seems backwards to me. Is it just me who thinks that push-ups are way harder than puzzles? Why should that be the case?
So this is my encouragement to you: Pick up a book. Find your box of crayons (I know you have one somewhere). Do a jigsaw puzzle. Make a movie. Do something that makes you think, but, more importantly, that makes you happy. It doesn't have to look good. Just distance yourself from the digital for a little bit and see that it's not the only place where you can find happiness. And, above all, be creative.
So long for now!
~ Snooty Crumb

P.S. I'M GOING TO LONDON THIS SUMMER!!!!!! Temple has a Study Abroad program that's just for School of Media & Communications students, so I won't just be in London, I'll be in London learning about the things that will eventually (hopefully) be my job! So if I don't keep my little-r-resolution to post more often this semester, I can at least guarantee that I'll be posting something while I'm there. But lots of things are going on right now, so at least one more post will be coming soon. Details will probably be there. :)