Friday, July 04, 2008


I have an Addiction.

I used to quench my appetite mostly at home: but for a long time now, I have been able to satisfy my cravings in full public view, unnoticed by those around me.

I fulfill my desires in restaurants: while watching TV; while surfing the Net; driving my car; at work; at home; in airports; in fact, anywhere at all.

I became Addicted very early in life. Growing up in the 70's was an interesting experience, a time when experimentation with any and all forms of physical, chemical, or mental stimulation was not only accepted, but encouraged. I managed (with the gracious help of the Almighty) to avoid the usual pitfalls - I've never been drunk, or high, in my life - but I got hooked before I knew what 'hooked' was, and by then it was far too late.

Of course, there have been consequences. My Addiction has caused me trouble with my parents, in school, at work, and at home, usually because I should have been doing something else at the time that I was indulging my Habit.

But I refuse to give it up.

I like the way my Habit alters my perceptions. I can lose myself for hours, forgetting all the stuff out there waiting for me, piled up like six weeks' laundry, pungently aromatic with Eau de MustbeDone. I need that escape from this reality to another, to have my mind exploded, rearranged, reconstructed: if deprived, the thirst comes on me like the blood lust on Lestat, and I must feed.

That's not the worst of it, though. Sometimes my Addiction produces nothing so much as a delicious ennui, an aversion to re-entry to real life, a reluctance to stop that ignores sleep, food, and personal hygiene.

Alas, sometimes it produces no feelings or intellectual stimulation at all, but just is, like Decartes' thoughts. Somerset Maugham, who shared my Addiction, said that this last was 'as reprehensible as doping'. Those of you who share my predeliction for Maugham will now know what affliction I bear, on what I am hopelessly hooked.

I am Addicted to Reading. *sighs*

I read any and everything. I read great books, good books, bad books. I read airline magazines. I read restaurant menus, ingredient lists on boxes, signs by the roadside. I can't help myself: the moment my wandering eye collides with a word, it absorbs, digests, and immediately transports itself to the next word, paragraph, page in line. Lather, rinse, repeat.

In this way I have been transported to worlds as diverse as Calvin and Lovecraft, Daily Kos and Frontpagemag, Lewis and Adams.

I have also delved into menu-worlds as disparate as Bennigan's and Mosaic in The Cove, Paradise Island. It was fascinating how they differed - and in what they did not.

I would be very surprised indeed if, in the world of Writers, I didn't have lots of company. After all, it's the love of the written word (truth be told, mostly our own!) that drove us to vomit forth upon an unsuspecting world the outpourings of our souls. Maybe there are those of you out there who haven't recognized your own Addiction yet: you just read everything 'out of habit' or unconsciously.

Admit it: you cannot help yourself, but must read, or shrivel, wither, and freeze.

Of course, I am also Addicted to Writing, but that's a subject for another time.


gdtownshende said...

'Bout time you wrote somethin',... you addict. :P

Obviously, I share your addiction. My mum tells the story that when I was younger, she sometimes had to ban me from reading, just to get me to go out-of-doors for the sake of socializing. Of course, my own feeling on that was, "Why do I need to socialize, when I have all the company I need in my books?" :P LOL Nonetheless, ban me she did, but it did little to help. I'm still just as much a book-whore and as much a homebody as I was when she held the power to withhold from me my lovely addiction.

Now, though, when I am seeking publication as a writer, I've deliberately widened the scope of my reading. While I much prefer to write fantasy fiction, I'll read all manner of things, including: science fiction (a adolescent favourite), mysteries, thrillers, horror, westerns, classics, history, mythology, how-to books on writing, other types of non-fiction that capture my interest, and even an occasional romance.

If I'm at the table and eating, I'll absolutely grab whatever box is in front of me and devour the words while I masticate my food. I've also been known to miss an exit or two while driving because I was distracted... by something I was reading (or by some words I was masticating for a writing project).

Zonk said...

Sounds familiar...:D

I can't recall the last time I ate something without a book in front of me - unless it was at a restaurant with my folks etc (my Dad treats the family to lunch at Atlantis every Sunday...:D).

Lately I've been reading mysteries and thrillers to see how they plant cookies, etc for reader consumption later. Of course the queen of this kind of thing is Rowling, who left not only innumerable clues and foreshadowings, but many red herrings.

I've really enjoyed Stephen Lawhead's stuff (Song of Albion Trilogy, e.g.), if you're looking for something new and slightly different to read.

I wonder who else of my readers will come out of the closet ...:P

gdtownshende said...

I think you've become addicted to not blogging! :P

If you've not noticed, I recently read THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, and am now reading, of course, THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN. I've had a huge desire lately to read the classics, so I've been working to satisfy that desire.


aja2 said...

hey i like your blog - but seems you're so addicted that you don't have time to write in it anymore. tsk tsk. well who am i to complain, eh? i don't post on DA anymore, other than my new year's 'hi' - but i digress...

i rarely check my email on the account i gave, but do check aja1080 atyahoo dot com more frequently. or you could just ignore me ;-)

anyway, hope you are well - tell Andrew i said 'hi' willya? i'd give you my flickr link if i knew it - but doubt you'd find anything on it worth looking at. i'm way behind on the picture scene, though i literally have thousands of photos. if you read my reply to ikue on da, you'll get a glimpse 'why' if you choose to know.

i have no idea if you'll see this or not, so again - hope all is well with you. take care & God bless -


gdtownshende said...

You haven't disappeared off the face of the planet, have ya?

Zonk said...

nah, just dropped out of the blogiverse.