Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Dark Side of Book Obsession

Sometimes I fall too far into myself. When I do, the books I read or the stories I write become more real than my real life. I get lost in the endless landscapes of other worlds, befriend characters that were spun from other writers' minds, get so caught up in the events of these fictional people's lives that mine doesn't seem all that important anymore.

When this happens, I withdraw. I curl up inside my mind and I avoid friends and family. I avoid my responsibilities. When I'm not reading, I feel like an aimless zombie. The emotions that the characters feel are boundless compared to what I can feel. I hate finishing a book. When that story comes to an end, I feel empty.

I ask myself, do I exist at all? Am I simply a container for these stories, these characters, these worlds in which to reside? I have seen more imaginary worlds than I have seen of this world I live in. I live more in my head than I ever have in this actual world.

Books manipulate me. I am not who I once was after I read them. Each one changes me ever so slightly. I can never go back to what I was before.

I used to think my book buying obsession was an unhealthy one. I've cured myself of the buying, but now I realize that the unhealthy obsession is the books themselves, not whether I possess them.

They possess me. Every now and then, a book will suck down my soul and won't let go. Nothing else matters. I am a slave to the book I am reading. Once I start, I cannot stop. Not for food, not for bodily function, not for sleep. Nothing else matters except that I keep reading. Rushing inevitably to the emptiness I will feel when it is done, and I look at the clock, and realize I have been reading all night.

Will I ever write a book that will compell someone to stay up all night reading it?


  1. Yes, you will. I believe that with my whole heart. You will because you understand what books are for -- a place for readers to escape until they're ready to take on the real world again. This is why we read, and this is why we write. You don't write for dollars, or for recognition. You write to go away for awhile, and to give other people a place to go. This is why you'll be compelling and keep people from putting your books down. I have complete faith in you.

  2. Every story you write is alive in you. It's a horrible, wonderful responsibility to take it from inside and put each word on a page. But after you do, others will take up the responsibility of caring for your story. And your book will live on in them.

  3. Can I just say how glad I am to have met you two? It warms heart and comforts my soul, knowing that there are people out there who understand about books. About stories. That I am not alone in this sometimes desolate but sometimes wonderful place where books and writing mean so much.