Choose to be Curious


The beauty in having total creative and editorial control of an enterprise is that you can do whatever you want with it. Few things in life are quite so wonderful — or so potentially overwhelming.

And so it was that when my Big Jar of Wannabe Analogies met an untimely end, I could pay homage in a way that made sense to me, through the medium at my disposal, for an audience I hoped might share some modicum of my sentimental reaction to the loss.

How is the Big Jar of Wannabe Analogies like curiosity? That’s for you to decide…

Listen to Choose to be Curious #42: #Analogy: A Tribute

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Professor of language and literature Tonya Howe was one person I felt reasonably certain shared my fondness for analogies, so I dropped in on her office hours to learn more about analogies — and was reminded what fun it was to talk with her about how much the language with which we express and explore curiosity is tangled up in our ideas of femininity.

Listen to Curiosity to Go, Ep. 15: Curiosity By Any Other Name

How is one thing like another, and how best to capture and express that comparison? How — or why — can our view of something be indelibly altered by our association of it with something else? How do we make the most effective (read: constructive, positive, creative-in-all-the-best-senses) use of that power? As we choose to be curious, how does that habit influence the analogies we feel tempted to make?

I’ve learned this: an analogy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Through its sturdy soda-lime glass, with its clasp’s signature rattle, by serving up random slips of paper for scores of guests, the Big Jar has helped me see the world just a little differently. Couldn’t ask for much more from an old jar. R.I.P.  B.J.W.A.

Thanks to Sean Balick for permission to use his original composition, None.

Your Love Is Like Clean Water by SongAboutYourPost2 is licensed under a Creative Commons License. 

The World Is Like An Apple… (a mix for Test / Radio Nova March 2001) by Ewan Pearson is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Like A Pig in The Sunshine by Jorge CE is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Choose to be Curious

Curious, But Cautious

Her email opened with, “What do you think about exploring skepticism as the underbelly of curiosity—embracing skepticism by engaging in exploration and moving toward authentic curiosity?”

Authentic curiosity? I thought. Underbelly? Who wouldn’t want to have that conversation?

Keris Myrick, health advocate, one-time CEO, all-the-time thinker, joined me to parse terms. Is she curious, or skeptical? You be the judge.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #41: Skepticism, or is it? with Keris Myrick.

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As I did my research, I began to think there’s a continuum between curiosity and skepticism along which critical and evaluative thinking must lie. That brought me back to the conversation with international development, peace building and advocacy evaluator Carlisle Levine.

Listen to Curiosity to Go, Episode 14: Curious, But Cautious

Keris hatterIt wasn’t until the morning of broadcast that the obvious frame for today’s conversation hit me: this is about the hats we wear and how we show up for life and its processes of learning and understanding. Do we take things at face value? Are we playfully curious? Rigorously skeptical? How do we decide which “hat” is right for what occasion? Why?

Keris uses cosplay (short for “costume play” in which adults use costumes and fashion accessories to represent a character) as a way to explore and expand her thinking and experience. The playfulness and pure joy of the hobby are deceptive: this is fun — and it provides a way for people to embody wholly different world views and personae. It requires creativity and an elasticity of self that are important elements in both critical thinking and empathy.

Some sort of thinking cap seems like an intellectual sartorial necessity. Without it, our heads get cold, we hunker into our proverbial coats and brace ourselves against the harsh winds of the unknown. Carlisle’s question, “Anything else?” becomes a warm hood we can throw on, allowing us to stay out in the elements, exploring, just a little longer…

CTG - Anything else

Choose to be Curious


Astrophysicist and author Mario Livio closes his book Why?: What Makes Us Curious with this, “They say that curiosity is contagious. If that’s true, my advice would be: Let’s turn it into an epidemic.” Think of Karen Ward as a contagion vector.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #40: #mycuriouseyes with Karen Ward.

The 1950s ad man Leo Burnett once wrote, “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects…is still the secret of great creative people.” I found myself leaning into the question of creativity — and the inspiration that sparks it — in this “Curiosity to Go” segment with Karen Ward and musician AJ Smith.

Listen to Curiosity to Go, Ep. 13: It Started with a Spark

That was the inspiration. I asked myself,”What if a group of people around the world got together for a week and shared their lives, through their eyes?”

It wasn’t about the artistry of the pictures. It wasn’t about the profundity of the prose. It wasn’t about anything other than noticing. For ten days, I kept the prompts in mind and wandered about, camera in hand, capturing what caught my eye. (I confess, I had a whole collection of pictures from inspiration I found in the shower — although those required me coming back with said camera.) It was an eclectic selection.

Karen Ward’s invitation to spend a little time each day being curious about how a handful of words — color, shape, texture, pattern — showed up in my day was like taking a staycation. Tourist-like, I regarded my surroundings with new interest. I inspected the unexpected. I marveled at the beauty I found in the every-day. I paid attention.

When we choose to be curious, when we open ourselves to the sights and delights of what’s around us, we literally see our world in a new way. What a gift.

I hope you’ll join me for Karen’s next round of #mycuriouseyes, starting soon on social media near you.

Click on any image to start a slideshow and to read about the image and its inspiration.

To participate in an upcoming #mycuriouseyes project, visit

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