The Call Of The New: A Curious Story

Let it be known that I’m not too much the self-analytical type, which means I usually don’t give a lot of thought to what I do or why. Shit, basically I wake up in the morning and try to make a go of the day. But recently a certain aspect of my behavior became clear to me. And the more I thought about this aspect, I realized that it’s part of everybody’s makeup, that it reaches back to our baby years. It’s part of human nature, in other words. This innate need cools down for most of us as we get older, for sure, but it remains a force, one that makes our life journeys interesting and productive.

“Yo, Neil,” I hear a chorus of voices exclaiming, “time is precious and our attention spans are shorter than your dick. Give us some pertinent facts, guy. Tell us what the hell you’re talking about already!

Woe to those who ignore a chorus of voices. Here goes.

The mid-morning hours of the 20th day of April, a Saturday, found me, as usual, upon the living room sofa. The radio was tuned to Sleepy Hollow, a weekend show of peaceful music on WXPN, a Philadelphia station. I was only half-listening to the tunes being played, though alert to the possibility that a few might mesh beautifully with my inner tunings. And, as always, I was hoping to meet some music that I’d never heard before. Around 9:30 one number that met both criteria floated out of the stereo’s speakers. The song was Bird, by the singer-songwriter Azniv Korkejian, who is known professionally as Bedouine.

Bird is good. Really good. It’s about loving someone so much, you’re willing to let them go when freedom is what they require. I’ve listened to Bird several times since the Saturday in question, feeling it wash over me and into me. This song’s got power!

Bedouine, who is fairly new to the music scene, sings in a resignation-tinged voice, her words coming across in almost an offhand manner, though she probably worked on them religiously. Bird is a quiet emotional outpouring. It will remind you of introspective songs by Joni Mitchell.

Yes indeed, I’d been open to hearing something that was new to me. And very luckily, the haunting Bird came my way.

The day progressed. I could have stayed home, doing any number of things that are part of my routine. Lawn mowing, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. Invisible strings, however, were pulling on me to get out of the house and meet up with something that I hadn’t crossed paths with before.

And so, in late afternoon my wife Sandy and I went to the nearby Ambler Theater to see Amazing Grace, a documentary about the making of an Aretha Franklin gospel album in 1972. The album was recorded in a Los Angeles Baptist church, its pews filled with music lovers (the faithful and non-faithful alike), and the performances and behind-the-scenes moments were faithfully filmed. The movie was intended for release, but for various reasons sat on a shelf for lo these many years. Clap your hands, sisters and brothers, rejoicing in the undeniable truth that Amazing Grace has seen the light of day! It’s great.

Chalk another one up for following the call of the new.

And at Deterra, a good restaurant across the street from the movie house, without consciously realizing what I was doing I searched the menu for clever dishes that I hadn’t previously encountered anywhere. And I found them. Potato gnocchi, with mushrooms and fava beans and a froth of parmesan cheese, brought a big smile to my face. So did pappardelle (wide pasta noodles) served with sautéed shrimp and pesto sauce. Yowza, yowza, yowza!

The next day is when it dawned on me that what I’d done on April 20th is what I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember: I hear the call of the new and I move on it. Not obsessively. Not even every day. But regularly. Acting like this is to a large extent who I am. Partly I follow this path to keep boredom away from my door. But it’s far more than that. I seek new experiences because many of them turn out to be enlightening and inspiring. I wouldn’t want to live any other way.

And the pattern is nothing more than one that began in my early years. The world is new and intriguing to little kids, after all. They want to know. They want to explore. “What’s this? What’s that? Look at this! Look at that!” is their mantra, their engines’ fuel.

It all boils down to curiosity. Humans are born curious. And we retain our curiosity, though some far more than others. Hell, does anybody want to sit around day after day doing the same old, same old? I don’t think so. We like to shake things up, at least a little, and add interesting spices to the stew. We can’t help ourselves. I mean, where would we be without curiosity? Stalled, man, stalled, in the pre-civilization eras.

And, come to think of it, that would be okay. Sure, our fair species’ prodigious achievements over the last 10,000 or so years have resulted, in part anyway, from the curiosity genes populating our cells. That’s because curiosity is one of the mothers of invention. But in the process, Planet Earth has been brought to its knees since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Carbon dioxide emissions, depletion of resources and pollution of the waters have done an excellent job of that. Oy vey, to say the least!

Hey, this essay has taken a turn that I wasn’t expecting. Writing can be funny that way. Seeing that I ain’t in the mood for bumming myself out, I’m now going to remove my digits from the keyboard. It’s a bright, sunny morning as I type this paragraph. My lawn needs mowing, and I hear its call.

(Please don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this article. I thank you.)

106 thoughts on “The Call Of The New: A Curious Story

  1. Becky Ross Michael April 29, 2019 / 12:32 am

    Lovely song, “Bird.” You’re right…such a haunting arrangement. Thanks for telling us about this music!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. George April 29, 2019 / 12:48 am

    Must see Amazing Grace. Aretha’s voice makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up—phenomenal artist.

    Over here, the leader of the opposition is pushing the government to declare a climate emergency. Whether anything meaningful comes of it, we’ll have to see. But what has prompted this? A series of protests by Extinction Rebellion and a high profile visit by Greta Thunberg, the sixteen year old Swedish activist who initiated the school strikes over climate change. A movement led primarily by young people, whose curiosity about the world has led them to instigate radical action to try and save it from those who want to just keep doing what they’re doing.

    I guess that desire to discover might just be what leads us out of trouble as well as what led us into it in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 5:04 pm

      I hope so. But I’m not optimistic about mankind’s future. There are so many uncaring and unconcerned people out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross April 29, 2019 / 1:21 am

    Beautiful song. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Your curiosity reminds me of how much like a crow I can be: “Oh look, there’s something shiny over there. Let’s check it out!” I love checking things out. Just to see. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. smilecalm April 29, 2019 / 1:23 am

    nice tune, Neil! i’ll listen to more of her
    no need to take
    the short cut when describing
    the important folk song-ness
    of this life’s new, precious
    present moment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 8:10 pm

      Hi David, and thanks for stopping by. I’m going to listen to Bird again before hitting the sack in a few hours. A beautiful song. See you!


      • smilecalm April 29, 2019 / 8:25 pm

        wonderful artist, thanks for turning me on to her!
        also appreciate your fishing my comment out of spam. over the past couple days seems all the comments i’ve posted on other’s sites have been going into spam. oh well, i’ve been on the no-fly list before, now i’m on the spam list. wishing you a restful moment 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Still the Lucky Few April 29, 2019 / 1:50 am

    Human curiosity, what a terrific thing to be curious about, Neil! I loved your take on this, and glad that you delved into the darker side of it—has to be said, eh? I’m a very curious person too, and it gets me into hot water all of the time. I’ve spent the past four years following my curiosity about all sorts of topics, and have loved every moment. It seems endless. I think that’s what makes your blog so fresh and exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 5:07 pm

      Hi Diane. For sure, it’s a great big world with all kinds of things for us to look at and get involved with. You use the right word: Endless.


  6. Cathy Cade April 29, 2019 / 4:51 am

    That birdsong reminds me so-o much of Dylan in my teenage years.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. cath April 29, 2019 / 5:39 am

    First, thanks for introducing me to Bedouine. I agree, that is a beautiful and wonderful song. I’m not surprised it led to such a delightful series of explorations – you seem to have covered a good range of experiences, and created a lovely train of thought.

    Your discovery that the writing took an unexpected turn is the part I love about putting words together, and I agree, it’s a lot to do with holding onto that sense of magic that children have as they discover ‘the world’. Hope your current week is throwing up some equally inspirational moments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 5:11 pm

      Evening, Cath. Yeah, writing is an intriguing process. Writing often helps me understand what I truly think about various subjects. Enjoy the week —

      Liked by 1 person

  8. vprofy April 29, 2019 / 7:43 am

    Good reflection. I use a model that tries to mix the traditional, routine, planned, familiar with the new, different, serendipitous, unfamiliar. I apply it to restaurants we chose; what roads we take traveling; even what I read.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. greenpete58 April 29, 2019 / 8:30 am

    I’m wary of most new music, and I often don’t click song links, but your “really good” remark piqued my CURIOUSITY. I do like this song. She isn’t trying to imitate anyone. And the song has a gracefulness and maturity. Thanks for being CURIOUS about it, and sharing your discovery!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie Graves April 29, 2019 / 9:31 am

    A great big “Yes” to the call of the new. Clif and I listen to new music all the time. While I love and honor the music of my youth, I don’t want to be an elder who is stuck in the old days. Wonderful song, and I’ve heard the Aretha doc is fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      If the Aretha film plays in your area, don’t miss it. Have a great week, Laurie. Many thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves April 30, 2019 / 9:42 am

        It was playing relatively nearby—about 25 miles away. Unfortunately, we did miss it. We’ll watch it when it’s available through streaming.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. lievelee April 29, 2019 / 10:00 am

    Curiosity killed the cat. Definitely… Even so, although humanity being on the brink of disaster may be linked to the inventions that have shaped today’s world, no doubt it will be this same inquisitiveness and curiosity that may (hopefully) provide the answers and solutions to avoid us breaching the point of no return. Double-edged sword, Neil…

    I love curiosity and exploring new things and seeing new opportunities. Woe the day when I stop asking ‘why’ and ‘what if’… I don’t ever want to grow up!!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 5:15 pm

      Me either. At least not too much! There are so many good places out there and so many enjoyable things to do. See you —


  12. Jacqui Murray April 29, 2019 / 10:24 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more–about curiosity driving action. Some scientists speculate that ‘wanderlust’ (a physical manifestation of curiosity) is why man spread throughout the world, adapted to so many environs. I tend to agree. Alligators aren’t curious and aren’t worldwide.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 5:19 pm

      Hi. I didn’t know about the wanderlust theory that you mention. We are an amazing and multi-faceted species.


  13. Almost Iowa April 29, 2019 / 10:39 am

    Curiosity is a wonderful thing – but new things not so much. It is not that new bad, per se, it is just 9 out of every 10 ideas are bad ideas. My favorite quote come from Saul Bellow. “Most ideas begin on the coasts and by the time they make it to the Midwest, they are threadbare and we can see through them.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 5:25 pm

      Well, I don’t know if I agree with what you say.

      But I will say this: Let’s hope that good sense and a sense of urgency will prevail soon, so that the harm that humans inflict on our planet will be greatly reduced. If that doesn’t happen . . .


  14. smilecalm April 29, 2019 / 11:58 am

    hello Neil, let me know if comment i left earlier disappeared into the wp black hole 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 8:07 pm

      Hello David. Both of your comments ended up in my spam folder. I look at spam folder now and then because of the various WordPress glitches that occur.


  15. Marietta Rodgers April 29, 2019 / 1:56 pm

    Great song! Whenever I encounter something new that I find intriguing, I still get really excited and want to know all I can about it. So, I’m glad that’s one thing I haven’t lost as I’ve gotten older.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 5:26 pm

      Right, life would be awfully bland if we didn’t have enthusiasm and curiosity.


  16. Robert Parker April 29, 2019 / 2:50 pm

    Good for you, man, keep on truckin’ & trying new stuff. Maybe curiosity is part of what got us into the big environmental meltdown – – we’ve been like those idiot kids you read about in the newspaper, filling a beach ball with propane, and tossing it into the barbeque grill, “just to see what happens.” But I have hopes that people with curiosity, imagination, inventiveness, etc. still have time to turn things around, get this rambling wreck back on the road.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. JT Twissel April 29, 2019 / 3:14 pm

    She does remind me of Joni Mitchell. Somedays do feel like patterns but I had enough adventure in my younger years to keep me going – there’s always another story to tell or read.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. tanjabrittonwriter April 29, 2019 / 3:37 pm

    Good for your for feeding and nurturing your inner child. Neil.
    And even though it’s fairly melancholy, I found “Bird” beautiful, too.
    I hope you enjoyed your time in the yard.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. sniderjerry April 29, 2019 / 5:29 pm

    In the words of Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or it’s nothing.” Fly on Bird Man.All the best, Jerry.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ann Coleman April 29, 2019 / 5:42 pm

    You’re right, curiosity is one of the things that all humans have in common. And my hubby and I saw Amazing Grace last Saturday, and loved it too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 7:53 pm

      I wonder if this song will catch on and become popular. Probably not, because there’s so much competition in the music world. But you never know.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Debra April 29, 2019 / 8:23 pm

    Curiosity is life. Once my 96-year-old mother stopped being curious about things, I knew it was over for her, even though she was technically still “alive.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 9:51 pm

      Hi. Well, curiosity is a big part of life. That’s for sure. But other parts of human behavior are extremely important too.


  22. Sandy April 29, 2019 / 9:44 pm

    Your curiosity has always been one of your endearing qualities. 😍🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  23. alhenry April 29, 2019 / 10:01 pm

    “So did pappardelle (wide pasta noodles) served with sautéed shrimp and pesto sauce.”

    Yowza, yowza, yowza indeed!

    Rambling to discover what’s shaking out there in the world is a fine avocation. May you ramble forever. As for the turn toward concern over the planet’s failing health, I just want to assure you that I have spent the past week taking apart dozens of old VHS tapes so I can recycle all the plastic bits (Ed is helping me in this endeavor, good man). Side educational benefit: I am ASTOUNDED at just how many MILES of earth-damaging tape each video cassette contains. We need to THINK better about what we invent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 29, 2019 / 11:24 pm

      Evening, Amy. Yeah, humans are smart in some ways. But humans are also destructive and self-destructive, neither of which is smart.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. jeanleesworld April 29, 2019 / 10:14 pm

    Ooo, a documentary about Aretha Franklin? Awesome! Such moments of discovery help keep the curiosity hungry for more. x

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Alyson April 30, 2019 / 3:34 am

    Funnily enough, I just said to someone earlier this week that the people I warm to most are those who are open-minded and curious about the world. Only way to be really and as you have proved, always new discoveries to be made.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. joyce hamilton April 30, 2019 / 8:20 am

    Great song and review.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Isabelle April 30, 2019 / 11:06 am

    I’ve just listened to it, Bird, it was a beautiful tune. Very calming and soul-comforting. It meshed with the spring rain. Take care, Neil.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Pam Lazos April 30, 2019 / 6:23 pm

    Keep in being curious, Neil. It suits you.🤓

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Kimberly April 30, 2019 / 8:23 pm

    Beautiful song – love the lyrics & background vocals

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 30, 2019 / 10:26 pm

      That song is a keeper. It’s a beautiful production. Thanks for stopping by, Kimberly. Much appreciated.


  30. tref May 1, 2019 / 2:10 am

    Just listened to Bedouine for the first time to-day. I loved, “echo park”, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 1, 2019 / 7:41 am

      Hi there. I just gave it a listen. Good tune. I’m going to check out a few more of her songs. See ya.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. cincinnatibabyhead May 1, 2019 / 5:09 pm

    You know I like docs so if it crosses my path I will watch it. You mentioned Joni Mitchell. I was listening to a Herbie Hancock recording today and she was on it.
    I try to follow what you’re on about. Hopefully I’m past sticking my hands into bees nests, petting dogs that are frothing at the mouth, taking a slug out of a bottle of Franks Red Hot, eating tar, smoking rope, picking fights with 300 lb gorillas, jumping out of vehicles that are going fast etc. To hard on CB’s body. I’m a little more careful these days. Good piece fella.

    (Favor time. I mentioned seeing your Bruce take in your archives. The first time you saw him. I would like to use it for a piece I have. Cool?)

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Joe May 1, 2019 / 9:57 pm

    Great insights, Neil. I agree that the motivation to get out and do things is not as much about solving a boredom problem, but rather an innate desire to experience life and feel alive. For me, this really began in my early teenage years, before getting my driver’s license. I would just walk out the door, catch a bus or stick out my thumb, and head into the city (I grew up about 15 miles from San Francisco). I never had a specific destination, but I felt so full of life and always experienced much more than I expected.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 1, 2019 / 10:51 pm

      You lived near a great city. So much to see and do. Those hills. The gorgeous waters. Did your visits to San Fran influence your course in life?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joe May 1, 2019 / 10:59 pm

        Absolutely! Those were very impressionable years for me. It was the early 1970s, and the city was full of ideas and adventures. The international character of the city also opened my eyes to other cultures and inspired my desires to someday travel the world.

        Liked by 1 person

  33. selizabryangmailcom May 1, 2019 / 10:35 pm

    Really soulful melody and singing in that song, but I think if I was out walking with her on that overcast day eventually I’d be like, “Yo, wanna hit the coffee shop and knock out a few hot chocolates? It’s cold out here and you’re kinda bumming me out!” 🙂

    Curiosity is important. I don’t know if I have enough of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 1, 2019 / 10:56 pm

      An amazing coincidence: My wife and I are in the living room. Radio is on, set to WXPN. A minute ago the song Bird came on. It’s perfect for late night listening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • selizabryangmailcom May 2, 2019 / 12:34 pm

        Lol, that IS amazing!

        Liked by 1 person

  34. andrewcferguson May 2, 2019 / 2:19 am

    Great song, and yes, Amazing Grace is on my to do list! All that, and you describe the human condition perfectly in less time than it takes for the music to reach its end! Keep searching for the new, Neil. The same curiosity that got us into this fix will get us out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Rosaliene Bacchus May 2, 2019 / 12:04 pm

    Neil, I’ve found that there’s nothing better to “shake things up” in one’s life than immersion in a different culture. Here in Los Angeles, we have innumerable opportunities to make friends with individuals from other cultures. I find it very enriching.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. johnlmalone May 2, 2019 / 6:07 pm

    pleasant song. I appreciated the lyrics. The phrase that got me, the frisson of the new, was ‘breaking bread over anecdotes’. That’s what we do whenever we share food with friends and family.I also loved the lo-tech production.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Fictionophile May 2, 2019 / 6:17 pm

    Thanks for the tune Neil. Bird seems to be a melding of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen.
    Stay curious my man!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 2, 2019 / 8:06 pm

      Evening, Lynne. You’re right — the song has big Joni and Leonard influences. They are good people to be influenced by.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Paddy Tobin May 2, 2019 / 6:57 pm

    Yes, new things keep life interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Paddy Tobin May 4, 2019 / 9:26 am

        LOL Never! We can always turn to alcohol and preserve ourselves!

        Liked by 1 person

  39. Silver Screenings May 4, 2019 / 12:41 pm

    What beautiful music you’ve shared with us today! I loved the song “Bird” that you posted.

    Last week I heard an interview with one of the “Amazing Grace” filmmakers and it sounds like a Must See. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 4, 2019 / 2:02 pm

      Hi Ruth. It’s worth seeing for the music, of course. And many non-musical moments that the filmmakers captured are very interesting. You’ll love this film.

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Anonymous May 6, 2019 / 10:21 am

    Sounds like an ongoing battle between novelty and routine. But routine inevitable imposes itself on you if you don’t actively go out and look for the novelty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 6, 2019 / 11:09 am

      Hi. I think you’re right. We have to remind ourselves to get off the sofa.

      Between the immensity of the natural world, and the immensity of the man-made world, there is no shortage of things to pique our interest.


  41. linnetmoss May 8, 2019 / 7:59 am

    I’m looking forward to seeing the Aretha movie! And yes, I feel the same curiosity about new things. I think of myself as a lifelong student!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 8, 2019 / 10:13 am

      Hi. I give two thumbs up to this sentence: “I think of myself as a lifelong student!’

      See ya —


  42. America On Coffee May 9, 2019 / 2:53 pm

    An excellent share Neil, of a fun and entertaining outing. Thanks for the many endearing reflections. I truly love your Philly adventures. Video is not avail.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Imelda May 20, 2019 / 11:23 am

    Her voice is soothing and compelling. The simplicity of her singing evokes far more emotions than the more dramatic styles i often hear on the radio.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. viewfromoverthehill May 22, 2019 / 12:06 am

    My goodness Neil: It takes a whole lot of scrolling to get to leave a reply on your oh-so-popular blog. Without curiosity, life would become a bore. Keep going. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Michele Anderson June 1, 2019 / 6:29 pm

    Beautiful song Neil. Letting go and moving on is painfully hard, but finding the curious child living inside of us is pure joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger June 1, 2019 / 9:06 pm

      Hello Michele. We are, by nature, filled with curiosity and inquisitiveness. Those qualities propel us. See you!


  46. Linda Thornton June 12, 2019 / 10:12 am

    You had me at Joni Mitchell, but then really snagged me when you reminded me to keep up the curious.

    Liked by 1 person

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