What's Up and What-Not | v.1

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift,
that gift should be curiosity.
— eleanor roosevelt

In Austin Kleon's book, Show Your Work, chapter four, Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities, he writes:

If you happened to be wealthy and educated and alive in 16th- and 17th-century Europe, it was fashionable to have a Wunderkammern, a “wonder chamber,” or a “cabinet of curiosities” in your house — a room filled with rare and remarkable objects that served as a kind of external display of your thirst for knowledge of the world. Inside a cabinet of curiosities you might find books, skeletons, jewels, shells, art, plants, minerals, taxidermy specimens, stones or any other exotic artifact. These collections often juxtaposed both natural and human-made marvels, revealing a kind of mash-up of handiwork by both God and human beings. They were the precursors to what we think of today as the modern museum — a place dedicated to the study of history, mature, and the arts.

We all have our own treasured collections. They can be physical cabinets of curiosities, say, living room bookshelves full of our favorite novels, records, and movies, or they can be more like intangible museums of the heart, our skulls lined with memories of places we’ve been, people we’ve met, experiences we’ve accumulated. We all carry around the weird and wonderful things we’ve come across while doing our work and living our lives. These mental scrapbooks form our tastes and our tastes influence our work.

I am a curious person. (I love the double meaning of that! ) I love exploring topics and themes, discovering tidbits and tiddles of information. Growing up, I lived mere blocks from our main public library. I would spend hours there each weekend, wandering through the stacks, letting myself find new things to read, to learn. The internet and google are a blessing and a curse! I can get lost for hours, jumping through rabbit holes, dashing off to find the next bit of curiosity. 

I also love sharing my discoveries. In a former iteration of my online presence, I had a regular Friday post called The Scattered Life Collective where I shared what I was reading, listening to, watching and interesting links I had found online. In considering a return to that practice, I have been thinking about the idea of a curiosity cabinet and how it is a reflection of who a person is. I think that's why I love compilation posts so much. It is a way to discover who a person is, what they like or dislike, what challenges them, what delights them, 

In my growing up home, we did not have a curiosity cabinet. We had a what-not shelf. It stood in the corner of the living room and held a variety of ceramic shoes, tiny vases, and tea cups. As a child, I thought the best day was dusting day because I was allowed to take all of the pretties off of the shelf, clean everything, and put them back. Later, my vision changed and all I saw was clutter. Now, I see that this was my mother's way of collecting beauty. Her what-not shelf is here with me now, in the corner of my dining room. Empty. It is time for me to fill it with my things, my curiosity, my what-nots of beauty. 

As I reached toward redefining this sharing that I want to do each week, I thought about calling it My Cabinet of Curiosity ... but my goodness, that is a lot of syllables in the mouth! It sounds a bit too formal for my taste, as well. Instead, I am drawing from my own life and the what-not shelf. 

Today, I welcome you to the first offering of What's Up and What-not!

Each Friday I will be sharing what's going on in my life and a few of the things that are capturing my attention and curiosity. 

On January 1st, I began a new 100 day project. My original plans were for something that would allow me to practice some drawing skills but most of my art supplies are packed up and waiting for the studio to be set up. On an impulse, I decided to devote 100 days to reading. Once a devoted reader, I had allowed myself to slip into hardly reading at all ... especially fiction. I had not cultivated the joy of losing myself in a story. I believe in the power of story but I wasn't reading stories! 

My challenge is to read at least ninety pages a day. Most days, I have been exceeding that limit because once I get started, I cruise along with the just-one-more-chapter mindset. To document my project, I am writing down a quote each day from whatever book I am reading and posting it to instagram. ( if you aren't already following me there, I sure wish you would!)

If you love compilation posts as much as I do, here are a few fuel your curiosity:

Something for the Weekend by Susannah Conway

Something good from Jill at Thousands Shades of Gray

Positively Present Picks from Dani at Positively Present

Links I love from Anne, Modern Mrs. Darcy

Things I Love Thursday from Kaleah Bee

This is Real Life from Liz Andra Shaw

and Austin Kleon's version of the cabinet of curiosity. 


Tell me. What's up in your corner of the world? What are you finding curious this week?