The Oxford English dictionary states that curiosity is “a strong desire to know or learn something”. For me,curiosity is perhaps at the centre of everything, curiosity makes the world go round, makes us wish to change and progress.
Doctors often study medicine because of this curiosity; they want to discover how the body works, and what to do when the body goes wrong. They are dictated by an innate wish to try to discover “why”. Like detectives.
Writers are doing the same but perhaps at a different level; they are looking to try and find out why people do the things they do. But both possess this inquisitiveness, which is an essential part of their make up.
When I asked my father why he studied medicine he answered because he was interested in people and he believed that by studying medicine he had the best chance of discovering about the human condition, with all its intricacies.
Thus, for this curiosity, this desire to investigate into the human condition I have always believed that those doctors who write and those writers who practiced medicine were at the centre of things. And the tradition of doctor-writers, from Hippocrates through Osler, Chekhov, Somerset Maugham to Michael Crichton, is strong. In the Spanish language there are such names as Pio Baroja, Gregorio Marañon and Ramon Cajal.
Wiliam Carlos Williams, an American paediatrician and poet wrote, “ As a writer I never felt that medicine interfered with me but rather that it was my very food and drink; the very thing that made it possible for me to write.”
And so, this leads me to the reason for this post- Dr Gustavo Catalan, very much a man of both worlds; a man who, as an oncologist, has dedicated his life to treating men and women afflicted by cancer, and as a writer who has sought to delve into the human nature and its curiosities.
He has recently opened a blog, entitled “Contar es vivir”
http://gustavocatalan.wordpress.com/. Its motto is ( quickly and directly translated) – “ If you are curious it will be a pleasure to share this curiosity with you”.
Dr Catalan is following a strong tradition, with dare I say a “curiousity” at its centre. If you are curious about art, about medicine and about life in general I urge you to follow this new blog.