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Are you an interesting person?

Recently, in a cartoon drawing course, I created a character who immediately took over and started showing her true colors.

I named her Ms. Jolly and she is turning out to be an interesting character. Even though she is still in the making, she is gathering a following of her own on Instagram where I post her daily adventures.

Her popularity made me think what makes her so interesting.

That question reminded me of a story I recently read about the novelist and short story writer Barry Hannah.

A student gets her story back from Barry, with honest criticism on it, “This just isn’t interesting.”

The student, a whiner, complained, “What can I do to make it interesting? ”

Barry, looked long and hard at the student, decided she was earnest about becoming a better writer, and told her the truth, “Try making yourself a more interesting person.”

Boomrang and Never Die

It seems like ‘being an interesting person’ is imperative for writers.

The usual image of a writer is that of someone in pajamas, sitting behind a desk with piles of paper, diligently typing away in a dark room.

But when I drew Ms. Jolly writing on her desk she came in the complete opposite way. She was dressed properly, complete with high heels, and was working from a clean desk.

How can one become an interesting person? It sounds like too much of hard work for introverts like me.

Well, it is not.

The recipe to be an interesting person is simple.

Do interesting things. That’s all.

Ms. Jolly is interesting because she is finding interesting things to do.

Interesting people have interesting lives not because they are interesting but because they are doing interesting things.

There are many roads to becoming an interesting person, but they all involve developing your curiosity and your desire to know and understand — yourself, others, the world around you. You can read. You can pursue a new activity like knitting or rock climbing. You can volunteer. You can commit to asking three people a day an open-ended question about themselves and really listening to their responses. You can share your information and connections freely.

J. Maureen Henderson

A person participating in archeological digs is an interesting person because he has so many stories to tell.

A person making movies with his phone camera and winning the amateur short film award is an interesting person. He has a lot to share, most people wouldn’t even bother to learn all the features of their phone camera.

A novelist traveling to the north pole to experience the northern lights so that she can use them as a setting in her novel is an interesting person. How many people do you know who would do that?

Austin Kleon wrote in his book Show Your Work!:
If you want followers, be someone worth following. [“Have you tried making yourself more interesting?”] seems like a really mean thing to say, unless you think of the word interesting the way writer Lawrence Weschler does: For him, to be “interest-ing” is to be curious and attentive, and to practice “the continual projection of interest.” To put it more simply: If you want to be interesting, you have to be interested.

Maybe that was the reason that I enrolled for a cartoon drawing course this year which lead to the creation of Ms. Jolly.

That could be the reason why I was reading, researching and blogging about my travel from the bus and on the airports when everyone else was having a nap or strolling around aimlessly.

Jessica Hagy writes in How to Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps): Being interesting is about taking chances. It is also about taking daily vacations. About being childlike, not childish. It’s about ideas, creativity, risk. It’s about trusting your talents and doing only what you want—but having the courage to get lost and see where the path leads. Because it’s what you don’t know that’s interesting.

It is about living at the intersection of wonder, awe, and curiosity.

Go on, do something.

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