I sometimes get this terrible feeling that we’re running out of wonder.
“It’s all been done.” You’re heard that one, right? I have to admit, it’s something I find myself saying, under my breath, in a somewhat depressing tone, on occasion. That’s a facet of the kind of thing I’m talking about.
I can remember, as a kid, having an occasional thought which, at the time, seemed huge and profound. “Why does this mountain look different from that mountain?” or “How does my TV work?” are good examples of that kind of thing. Thus, the curiosity of a child would become ignited and would begin smouldering and popping. I’d feed the curiosity with discovery and knowledge. “Wow, the mountains get formed by tectonic plates bumping into each other?!” “Holy crap, some of these things are billions of years old?!” Thus, wonder became a deep understanding about how things work.
Maybe it’s a question of age more than anything, but I put the problem, at least partially, on 3G data connections. “Why does this mountain look different from that mountain?” Now, I just put the question into my phone and one of a million websites on the subject direct me to the answer. There’s no time to wonder. There’s no smouldering. What is there to wonder about?
So, alright, perhaps that’s just a manifestation of our constantly developing knowledge about things. Maybe it’s because the shape of a mountain isn’t at the frontiers of science? Maybe the things that we have to wonder about are just at a deeper level than the things we had to wonder about, and those depths are just harder to reach? Perhaps I’m just having a harder time bridging the gap between what I don’t know and what modern science doesn’t know? I can see that. Maybe I’m just not curious enough? I’ve always considered myself a curious person, but then I read Richard Feynman’s autobiographies and realize I’ve got nothing on the really curious people. Maybe that’s why I ended up as a writer and software tester and not a particle physicist.
All I know for sure is that I keep running into these situations where I have an interesting thought, and instead of mentioning it to the people around me and sparking an interesting conversation about it, I just keep my mouth shut. Sure, I might get ten seconds of “Hmmm, that’s an interesting point,” but then someone’s just going to Google it and spoil the magic.
Check out comedian Pete Holmes’ track “Googling and Not Knowing,” for an excellent summary of the problem. The man’s hilarious.
More outlining of book 2 today, and I’m comfortable saying the first act is good and completely sorted at this point, which makes me very happy. I even had a moment of clarity, halfway through some completely unrelated work, which lent itself to solving a particularly vexing problem I’ve been having with the timing of a couple of character interactions. I’m very, very glad to have that particular issue solved, as it was definitely holding things up.
I also spent a bit of time working on a new headline graphic for this site (the whole red marble thing isn’t’ really working for me) and I’m pretty happy with the result, so far. I reckon I’ll spend some more time on it over the weekend and then put it up on Monday. I look forward to any thoughts on the matter at the time.