What fascinates you?
I’ve built a career of getting people to tell me their answer to that question. Over the years, I’ve learned that people are fascinated by many things, often things you or I might call odd. Like stretch-and-sew sewing. That was the short-term fascination of one dear old friend whose obsessions, I’m glad to say, changed frequently. I’m glad because I’d hate to sum up Sue’s life by saying she hand-made T-shirts.
Because what fascinates us comes to define us.
My own fascination seems to be learning about the ways people spend their time. Like many of the obsessive people whose stories I’ve gathered over the years, I take my fascination to extremes. For many years, I was satisfied with crafting artful stories about people doing things that fascinate them. Eventually, it took a whole newspaper to chronicle my fascination with Chesapeake Country.
If you’ve read Bay Weekly for long, you’ve probably figured that out for yourself, as people following their fascinations — particularly fascinations that are sustainable or, to use another big word, self-actualizing — are the subject of so many Bay Weekly stories.
The two weeks of the U.S. Boat Shows are fuel to our fire, because boats and all their many intricate parts are irresistible fascinations to so many people.
One of those people is the Bay Gardener.
If anybody takes his fascinations to extremes, it’s Dr. Francis Gouin, whose weekly column in these pages proves just how far a man will go for the love of his work.
What you probably didn’t know, despite Gouin’s occasional hints, is that he’s as obsessive about his hobbies as about his work. Building boats, he confesses this week, is one of his favorite hobbies. He tells the story of his obsession in his own words, and, I promise you, it’s a story you’re going to get a big kick out of.
The U.S. Powerboat Show, with all its objects of desire and fascination, is the big show in town this week. But it’s not the only show. While some of us are fascinated with boats, history makes other people glow with joy. Lots of those sort turn out for the annual Renaissance Festival, which continues for two more weekends.
Assigned to go to the Renaissance festival and find somebody fascinating, intern Aries Matheos returned with jousting knight Sir Barchan. I hope her story of his fascination fascinates you this week.
Work becomes play and vice verse for people like Gouin and Sir Barchan, who love what they do. Also in that category are Maryland’s grape growers and vintners, who are not only in their season right now but also in their glory. Margaret Tearman tells you the fascinating story of why weather-weird 2010 may be Maryland’s best year ever for wine grapes.
Multiply this one issue by 909, the total number of all the Bay Weeklys and New Bay Times we’ve made, and you’ll find a lot of fascination.