Veronique Darwin

Obsessions

In Thoughts on Writing on August 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm

The other day I thought I left the burner on. When a seed gets planted…

I have these moments often, where some thought strikes me and unless I do something about it it will continue to grow until it has become something corrosive. I always picture the worst and then expect it to happen. I know my car will get towed so I go check on it. I know I will forget things so I leave notes everywhere. I check and double check on everything and I am never, ever late.

I am aware of my neuroses, but identifying them hasn’t made them go away. Any sort of attention to them actually eggs them on. I feed them like they are the very soul of me.

Persistence of Memory” by Salvador Dali (polosgallery.com)

There are fruit flies in the kitchen. For two days I have been trapping them with meticulous attention. Every few minutes I get up to check on my fruit fly trap (a glass of wine I started last night). Though my intention is to exterminate them, I am also trying not to kill any. They feel like my pets.

( Remember when there were these plastic containers you could buy from the pet store and you filled them with water and if you waited long enough for the water to get dirty and bacteria to grow you could have these pets called Sea Monkeys? If you shone a light on them they danced around. What was that? )

Though I get obsessed with things, like fruit flies and potential floods or fires in the house I am driving away from, I also have a very short attention span. These two qualities should be mutually exclusive, but I’ve been able to make the very worst parts of them cohabit. I get obsessed with one thought and then move quickly between that and others.

Luckily, one thing I have a neurosis about is writing. I must do it. If I don’t, I get grumpy. I didn’t fulfill a satisfactory quota no one made. I didn’t do something I was supposed to.

Is that all passions are, a positive channel for the worst parts of ourselves? An outlet for the perfectionist, the ambitious, the obsessive compulsive and the anal retentive?

I like the idea that some trying quality, an obsession that grates on the nerves of our every day lives, can be fuel for something productive. I love that my negatives can be developed into something positive, maybe beautiful.

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