Last week, my lecturer approached me to discuss my desire to work with a publishing company for my internship. You’re still young, she said, you should do something more adventurous and exciting.

Translation: Get an internship where you can talk to strangers (journalism) or one with many stressful scenarios that will result in people yelling at you (production).

I have no desire to venture into the unknown, thank you, or to convince strangers to divulge their secrets. Some stories, I think, are not mine to tell. But maybe that’s my excuse to get away with being uncurious.

Publishing is a lot of paperwork. It’s a desk job. Do you really want that?

When I was 11, our class went for a field trip to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Everyone else appeared to be having a lot of fun, looking at mangrove trees and creatures wading through the mud below the boardwalk. I, trailing behind, was attacked by a spider, bitten by mosquitos and the only one who wanted to barf at the thought of eating lunch next to lizards. I almost cried from relief when we were finally in the bus going back to school.

 

Can I still be a writer if I am not curious at all?

Curiosity is the nicer word for being nosy. It is the habit of asking all sorts of questions, of  absorbing the world around you like a sponge and opening all the doors in sight just to see if there’s a secret corridor in one of them. It is the open window in your mind to for incoming gales of new ideas and new worlds of possibilities.

Being curious definitely means a life of adventure and excitement.

It is this fundamental trait that allows writers to explore the world in their books. 1984 was inspired by a mental exploration into what the world would be like under communism. Around the World in Eighty Days was inspired by what it would be like to go around the world in a short span of time. The Hobbit was inspired by the idea of a creature living in the ground.

Now if George Orwell had not been curious about communism, and if Jules Verne never saw that advertisement in the newspaper, and if J.R.R. Tolkien never explored the words that came to his mind, we wouldn’t have these classic stories.

My Windows of Curiosity are certainly closed. That may be the reason my idea pot is dry as a desert. I am not interested in what people do for a living or what others have hidden under their carpets. I have no want to explore any jungles or political exploits or the latest social issues. Everything is just very dull. Everything I want to say has been said, and no one wants to hear it anyway.

Moreover, every time I open my windows, moths and insects fly in to lay their eggs in my bedroom. The problem with curiosity is that you will even swallow poison because you are curious to know what it tastes like.

I like having a closed-off world the size of my room, where I can find everything in pitch black darkness and spell ‘comfort zone’ backwards. And, I do want that ‘boring’ internship at a publishing company after all.

Am I doomed as a writer?

 

 

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