Saturday, September 24, 2005

Obsessions

Writers are a neurotic bunch. It comes with the territory. We live inside our heads. We breath life onto the page. We study, analyze, dissect. Nothing is straight forward or black and white. Our world is littered with layers and subtext and hidden meaning. We question everything. We obsess.

Ah, obsession.

The life blood of the writer. We write about what obsesses us. The things we can’t forget, the stories that crowd our brains, jostling and jockeying for position, just waiting to be released onto the page.

The things that obsess you, define you. I’m obsessed with stories. With reading and writing and television and movies. I’m obsesses with movie trivia. I adore the National Enquirer, can’t go a week without my fix.

I’m obsessed with relationships. I think about my husband, my parents, my friends, my readers, my writing buddies, my agent, my editor. Did I say the wrong thing to so and so? Was I insensitive? Now I feel badly because I fear I was insensitive. Should I apologize or let it go so as not to make things worse? Should I do something nice for her because she was mean to me and made me feel bad? Or is that manipulative? Trying to make her feel bad by doing something nice for her because she made me feel bad.

I’m obsessed with cooking and food and nutrition and my weight. I weigh every day. I plan my meals in advance. I have over thirty cookbooks. I love going to specialty food stores. I can spend hours waxing rhapsodically over the different kinds of eggplants and plot delicious eggplant recipes. As we speak there’s a roast in the crockpot with carrots and onions, filling my house with delicious smells. I don’t put potatoes in my crockpot because I like the contrast of creamy smooth mashed potatoes served along side the stewed, rough–hewn crockpot fare. With it, I’ll have a crisp garden salad and lite ranch dressing, but no bread. Not because I’m Miss No Carb but because bread is not my obsession. I eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables but I have a darker obsession. I live for sweets. Gooey, rich, decadent. Chocolate and caramel loaded with nuts. I can’t go a day without some kind of sweet, which is why I can’t tolerate Akins.

I’m also obsessed with exercise to help balance my obsession with sweets. I actually love to exercise. Treadmill, strength training, dancing, yoga. I love warrior pose and downward facing dog. I love the way my body feels after yoga. Long and stretchy and flexible. I am writer woman, hear me roar.

Obsessions have power and writers must learn how to harness that power and bring it to the page. We have to embrace our obsessions. Use them to pinpoint our strengths and weaknesses. They are us. We have to make peace with them.

So what do you obsess about all day long?

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