Hi, my name is Brooke, and I have a problem.
It’s true. My husband is often bewildered by my obsessiveness. When I start something, and find that I enjoy it—whether it’s a book series, video game, television show, or hobby—I can’t help but put every bit of my effort into it. The obsessions last for days or weeks or even months, however long it takes for the obsession fuel to burn out.
I power-gamed Animal Crossing, which folks, is a casual game, something you pick up whenever. I danced my butt off through Just Dance and Just Dance 2. I have about 200 hours invested in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The day I got Sims Medieval, I finished the first kingdom goals within a few hours. I demolished LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4 in a matter of days.
As far as television shows go, I obsess unhealthily, forgoing hygiene, housewife duties, and sometimes even writing. When I first started watching Merlin, I couldn’t stop. I had to watch the next episode, or I would die. So I watched all three seasons as quickly as I could, watching at least one episode a day, sometimes two, sometimes three.
My husband and I watched all five seasons of Psych together, at my demand. We watched all four seasons of the new Doctor Who and the fifth as soon as it was on Netflix, watching three to four episodes a night. And then I was hooked on Dexter. We’re nearly finished with the fourth season. Now I’m hooked on Torchwood. My husband worked nights the past two days. I’ve watched twenty-odd episodes in that time frame. At the end of each episode, when they show the previews, I think, Oh, I can watch one more. Just one, and then I’ll go to bed. This ends with me going to bed well after midnight, without my husband here to tell me to turn the television off.
I have no willpower.
Especially not with books. There is a reason I try not to read book series until the last book has been released, or will be released soon. Last year, I read the first Percy Jackson novel in one night. The next day, I ordered the other four. I read all of the Chronicles of Chrestomanci in two or three nights. I reread the Harry Potter series in a week. I read The Lord of the Rings in a week, including The Hobbit.
When I start something that interests me, I can’t help but see it to the end, whatever end that may be. This year, I read the Green Rider series obsessively, reading into the wee hours of the morning—and I mean four or five o’clock in the morning. Any book that piques my interest and makes me think, Just one more chapter. Just one, and then I’ll go to bed. That’s the sort of book that I read in one sitting. I read about one-hundred pages an hour, sometimes one-fifty depending on the size of the text and pages, so I can knock out a book really quickly, sometimes too quickly.
Last year, I spent roughly—my husband will cringe if he reads this—$290 on books alone. This year, being almost August, I have spent a cringe-worthy, nearly embarrassing to say, Dear God, did I really spend that much money? $400. Four-hundred dollars on books. No wonder my credit card balance is so high. Some of those books are more practical than others, some non-fiction, cookbooks, and Dungeons & Dragons books. Some of those books, I have yet to read, so I made myself a pact that I wouldn’t buy any more books until I’ve read all the books that I already own—with a few exceptions. At least I spent that appalling amount of money on something worthwhile and lasting, rather than something unhealthy, like jelly beans.
Maybe I need to get into a Books Anonymous group.
I can’t help but obsess over things. I’m not sure why, but sometimes I feel like I need to obsess over something. I need to have something in my life that distracts me. From what, I’m not sure. I lead a happy life. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful house, the perfect job, and great friends. For whatever reason, though, it’s like I need that momentary escape, something to keep me occupied and take me somewhere I cannot truly be. Maybe it’s part of being a writer. Maybe it’s because I’m a hermit. Maybe I just like experiencing different things and meeting new people without actually having to enter reality.
Maybe it’s because fiction feels so much truer than real life. The characters in television shows or books are more alive than real people. We can see them inside and out, know their dreams, their emotions, their fears, without ever having to ask. What person in real life will give you that?
Fiction is honest in a way that real life cannot be, and maybe that’s why I’m a writer. You can be someone else. You can lead a different life in a different world, know people you will never meet, and see places that only exist on the plane of imagination. There’s magic in that.
Guys, I actually brought this ramble to a point!
Do you seek escape through books or television? What are your obsessions? Do you think that fiction is truth?