Aren’t you curious to know more? Why do you find this boring? If you could peer into my brain, you might observe these questions bouncing around.
I remember being admonished as a child for acting “too inquisitive” or alternately, “too sensitive.” As an adult I’m sometimes told that, in conversations, I either give too many details or ask for too many details, depending on whether I’m telling the story or listening to one. Or worse, I confess to interrupting someone else’s story (my husband) to add more details when I don’t feel he’s imparting enough information. Okay, so I like details! Watching movies, it’s not uncommon for me to be so engrossed in the details of the room decor or the characters’ clothing in period piece dramas, that I forget to listen to the dialog. My husband might call a movie a “yawner,” while I found it completely captivating in its minutia. And yes, I can be a bit on the obsessive side when it comes to journaling, particularly when traveling. I’m driven to record the details of our travel days, which actually sometimes comes in handy when we’re trying to remember the name of a particular place or where we stayed in any given city. While other people seek entertainment on their iPad, I’m busily recording the day’s events.
I’ve long collected family memorabilia, particularly photographs. Some of these photos date back to the mid-1800s. I thoroughly enjoy studying the details in these old photos, imagining myself in that time period. My current work in progress is a fictional biography of my great-grandmother Maggie. For inspiration, I’ve immersed myself in this branch of our family’s photographs, studying every element of each photo. There’s a particular photo of the farmhouse in Michigan where Maggie grew up, with 2 men and a horse standing near the house. If only photos might speak. The best I can do is squeeze my eyes shut, wishing I might transport myself into the picture by force of will, if only to ask questions and learn more about my family that came before. Throughout my life, I’ve had an active imagination, described by some as “over active.”
It’s easy for me to empathize, and over the years, I’ve often joked I could hire out as a “crier” at funerals and weddings. Labeled “overly sensitive,” I remember my mom telling me to “toughen up” when I cried over events or situations she deemed unworthy of tears. I believe she hoped to make me “strong” and strong women do not cry. How did I acquire all these seemingly “negative” traits?
Not everyone enjoys the details as much as I do, and most people aren’t as “overly sensitive” nor are they identified by their “overactive” imagination. And, we all know what happened to the cat that was too curious. We are who we are and diversity makes the world go ‘round. Still, I experienced a truly “aha” moment recently, reading a blog about the way writers think. With genuine surprise, I realized this author had not only described me to a “T,” but that there are other people who also love detail as much as I do, and are both inquisitive and sensitive. They are called “writers.” And, as a bonus, none of these labels are considered negative. At long last, I believe I may have found my tribe.