Friday, November 16, 2007
I'm very close to my younger sister. It wasn't always this way. In June 2006, I realized that my bratty little sister had grown up and was actually an interesting human being (she's six years younger than me. That's why I was shocked). We have a lot in common these days, not the least of which is our capacity for obsession.
Our obsessions are nearly legendary in their scope. She lives with us now, so my husband can do nothing but grin and bear it once we really get rolling. And once I become infatuated with something, that's it. I am utterly consumed by that thing to the point of utter exhaustion. This can go on for years. My Beatles obsession lasted for about 3 years, and I suspect I'm about to have a revival because my sister is really getting into them again. My Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel obsessions lasted for approximately five years. And that obsessions is always in danger of starting again, because I still love Angel and Wesley like a fat kid loves cake. Recently, we've shared obsessions with Star Trek (Captain Kirk forever!), Hot Fuzz/Spaced/Shaun of the Dead (Simon Pegg forever!), and The X-Files (the truth is out there!).
I feel out of sorts and odd when I don't have something to fixate on. I think this is why I don't mind writing for eight or more hours a day. Because this tendency of mine to completely and utterly devote myself to one pursuit is really convenient when it comes to writing. I love my characters and I want to be with them all the time. I'm constantly thinking about what they're doing. Sometimes I'm planning what to write, other times, I'm just mulling them over, like they're old friends.
I think writers have to be a little bit obsessive. I am in no way implying to be successful, you should be as crazy as I am. My fixations are genuinely exhausting and long-term things, and they always have been. But I've been wondering if other authors are the same way to some extent? Do you fixate on one and only one thing, or can you compartmentalize? I cannot compartmentalize. When I'm obsessed with something, it's literally the only thing on my mind.
It's really a wonder my husband and my friends tolerate me.