Some of you have mentioned that you may begin posting a Curiosity Journal, as well. Monica started up Curiosity Journals this week, so mosey on over to her place (after reading my spectacular entries below) to link up HERE.Reading: Guess what? I’m still reading Sophie’s World. I really do like it; it’s just that I get distracted with lots of things, including other books. For example, two weeks ago I read a recommendation of The Day I Became an Autodidact: and the advice, adventures, and acrimonies that befell me thereafter, by Kendall Hailey. After tracking it down through the inter-library loan system, I started it and couldn’t put it down. Some excerpts:
I have great autodidact news.At sixteen, Tolstoy entered the University of Kazan but was hopelessly disappointed (I confess the encyclopedia did not actually say “hopelessly”) and returned to his estate to conduct his own education. (Little did I know what a big role country homes and estates played in literary life. I’ve got to get one.)I shared this information with all available family members, and when I returned to the encyclopedia was very glad I had not read them the next phrase, which said that he did not achieve much success. (Hailey 4)
Puli, my dog (he is a puli and his name is Puli and it wasn’t my idea), is so wonderful. In the eleven years we have had him, we have always called him to dinner in the same way (briefly—”Dinner, Puli”) and yet every day he turns his head in sheer wonderment and happiness for a few moments before dashing to it, not quite believing that he is really getting dinner again tonight. He may be a dog, but don’t tell me he doesn’t have a real grip on life. (Hailey 13)
I’ll leave you with this for now:
Just found out Katherine Mansfield was ugly. I know that’s a stupid thing to say—especially after admiring Gertrude Stein—but the way Katherine Mansfield writes…I had always thought of her as a beautiful young girl with pen in hand. Perhaps, while writing, she was. (Hailey 14)
Did I mention that Kendall wrote this when she was 16 years old?Although no one in the family likes Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? very much, we’re all learning about economics, inflation and recession; so, despite eye-rolls and groans, I continue to pull it out and read a short chapter that we briefly discuss. It’s like mental broccoli: everybody has to take a small serving because it’s good for us.Playing: Confession: I refused to serve at our church’s VBS (Vacation Bible School) this year.Two years ago, I dutifully signed up to volunteer. By the end of the first day, I discovered I didn’t have enough energy to keep up with the group of fourth graders to which I was assigned for an entire week. The games, the singing, the hand motions, the crafts, the science experiments, the bathroom breaks…it was just too much. It took two full weeks following VBS to recover from the week of VBS.So this year I said, “Can I donate snacks, instead?”The director told me to bring seven boxes of ice cream sandwiches and that was the end of that. Well, I’ve also provided three teenage volunteers. Doesn’t that count for something?In any case, I have to confess something else about this VBS week:Coming home to a quiet house after dropping everyone off and then sitting by myself on the porch to pray without interruption? Dreamy.Nothing louder than the ding of the electric kettle, the smooth sound of water pouring, and the light clatter of a ceramic lid settling into place as I brew a pot of tea? Bliss.Reading a book, writing a blog post, eating an early lunch alone? Positively playful.Learning: Clearly, I’m an introvert. But I’m not really learning that; merely confirming it.On a completely different note, according to Richard J. Maybury, the wage/price spiral is apparently not an accurate explanation for what causes inflation. “The wage/price spiral sounds logical, but…[t]he only way for all wages and prices to go up is for someone to print money” (Maybury 44).Reacting: Remember how I said I’d be going to a doctor about my cough? Well, I tried to make an appointment with a doctor who came highly recommended. When I phoned, the receptionist said she’s not taking any new patients. I considered trying to sway her by pointing out that I only go to the doctor once every three or four years and thus wouldn’t overly burden their system. Instead, I simply said goodbye and hung up.I ended up phoning the place I went two or three years ago when I had the flu. The same doctor I saw briefly that winter had an opening on Friday. I took it.The doctor wore a brightly colored peasant skirt and fuchsia lipstick to match one of the colors in the flowy fabric. Her bangs sort of fell across her eyes and she occasionally pushed them aside when she studied my chart or spoke directly to me. I found this all a little distracting, but she listened to my lungs and asked relevant questions.She ordered a chest X-ray, and I’m happy to report that whatever this respiratory thing is, it’s not pneumonia.But I still have the cough.I’m tired of making whistling, crackling sounds when I breathe deeply. I’m bummed that I can’t react to a joke without the laughter morphing into a wheezing hack. I’m sick of going on a jog and stopping every two- to four-hundred yards to cough for twenty seconds.A friend gave me a link to a natural product to try. I started to order it but hesitated, deciding to wait and see what would happen at the doctor’s office. Also, I was afraid to take something that might not marry well with whatever the doctor ordered. I may live to regret this hesitation if the cough persists.Writing: I wrote this post and several others throughout the week. And I’ve written personal journal entries. But I’ve also been dragging up childhood memories and crafting them into stories for you. Here’s one for today:One of my closest friends in high school was granted the freedom to decorate her bedroom however she wished, and she covered the painted walls with posters.I envied her freedom.My dad forbid me to hang anything on my bedroom walls, especially with tape, because the adhesive would damage the vintage wallpaper.He was absolutely right. The cute flowered wallpaper (pictured left) would never survive my collection of The Police and Sting posters. Any tape would have pulled up bits of the wallpaper or left tacky residue behind.So I had to satisfy myself with the art that my parents selected for me. They hung on my wall a framed print of Greyfriars Bobby and, under that, the poem “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep,” which had the opposite effect that it probably intended (each night revisiting the possibility of dying before waking left me rather troubled):
Now I lay me down to sleep,I pray the Lord my soul to keep.If I should die before I wake,I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Also, it included a second stanza:
Now I get me up to workI pray the Lord I will not shirk.If I should die before the night,I pray the Lord my work’s all right.
Anyway, one day, in a moment of rash teenage rebellion, I grabbed a thumbtack and unrolled one of my posters—can’t remember which one—and poked the tack through the top-center of the poster. Then, I zeroed in on the black-dot-center of one of the flowers.And I pressed it in.Voila. A poster on my wall, without a single strip of tape.There you have it: A Curiosity Journal that reveals what I’m reading, playing, learning, reacting to and writing.