I just finished reading South of Broad, by Pat Conroy and A Drop of the Hardstuff, by Lawrence Block. Both books were terrific. I learned more about human nature and experienced how the characters dealt with the trauma of their lives. Conroy and Block know how to make that happen. I love being so immersed in a novel that all I can think about is how the main character will survive and win.
Am I on the way to that elite class? Hundreds of people think that Chasing Backwards is also terrific. They tell me they were up all night reading and woke up exhausted. They ask when the sequel is coming out. Part of me is excited. Part of me can’t believe it’s happening.
My wife accuses me of being obsessed, always in front of the computer writing. Is that all you think about? She asks.
You probably know the story of the scorpion and the frog.
“Give me a lift over to the island,” the scorpion says to the frog.
“No. You’ll sting me and I’ll die,” the frog says.
“If I sting you, we’ll both die. That makes no sense,” the scorpion responds.
The frog reluctantly agrees, and the scorpion hops on his back. Halfway to the island, the scorpion stings the frog and they both sink into the water.
“Why did you do that?” the frog croaks, in his dying breath.
“It’s in my nature,” the scorpion says, and drowns.
So, maybe I’m a lot like the scorpion — driven and loving the whole process.
Maybe one day readers will say, I just read Smukler, Conroy and Block. They know how to do it. I never wanted the book to end.
Having an incurable obsession is working. If someone tries to give me psychotherapy or Prozac, I’ll savagely fight them. I don’t want this obsession to go away. I don’t want to be cured! Sometimes having an incurable obsession can get you into medical school or make you into a respected writer.
Sometimes an incurable obsession can simply be called PASSION.
Writers, readers, and therapists, what are your experiences with obsessions?
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