Q&A with Josh (1)
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: Browbeating, Popular

Image from John Hilgart's 4CP archive

Image from John Hilgart’s 4CP archive

Someone asked me to answer the following two questions, yesterday. Thought I’d share my answers with HiLobrow readers…

Q. What does curiosity mean to you?

A. In a utopian society of perfect leisure — or if we were stranded on a desert island, which is the next best thing — we’d curiose (a verb I’ve just coined, thanks to your question) all day, every day.

Q. How do you stay curious?

A. Here are some random strategies. Hope they’re helpful — they might only work for me.

  1. Avoid 9-to-5 wage slavery! Unless it’s writing a newspaper column, in which case you’re getting paid to be curious.
  2. Assign yourself research/writing projects with deadlines. This is the #1 reason, in my experience, to start a zine or blog.
  3. Poke around — including parts of the supermarket, bookstore, and Internet where you usually don’t go.
  4. Lose interest in yourself; gain interest in everyone else.
  5. Keep making new friends. Stay in touch with old friends.
  6. Never say “No” when someone wants to meet for coffee, lunch, or a drink. It’s OK to say “No” to dinner.
  7. Don’t watch TV in the evenings. Unless it’s So You Think You Can Dance.
  8. If you’re a freelancer, share an office with someone who’s in a different line of work.
  9. When you’re driving the carpool to school, keep your mouth shut and your ears open.
  10. Visit your friends where they work. Not for lunch — just for a visit.
  11. Ask people you meet to show you their favorite smartphone apps.
  12. Completely rearrange your bookshelves every so often. Don’t alphabetize.
  13. Avoid NPR.
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Joshua Glenn is an author, publisher, and semiotic analyst. He is co-author (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) of THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY, co-editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS, and co-author (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen) of the family activities guide UNBORED and three forthcoming spinoffs, including UNBORED Games. He is editor of HILOBROW and publisher of the Radium Age science fiction imprint HiLoBooks. Also: Glenn manages a secretive online community known as the Hermenautic Circle; he is founding editor of the e-book club Save the Adventure; and he's a frequent co-host of Boing Boing's podcast GWEEK. In the ’00s, Glenn was an editor, columnist, and blogger for the Boston Globe's IDEAS section, he co-founded the international semiotics website SEMIONAUT, and contributed to CABINET, SLATE, and elsewhere. In the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT, worked as a dotcom and magazine editor, and contributed to THE BAFFLER, FEED, and elsewhere. His publishing company is King Mixer, LLC; and his semiotic analysis consultancy is Semiovox LLC. He lives in Boston with his wife and children.