Some addictions you know you can never give up. Even when you know they are bad, and it’s even harder when think they’re good for you, like when you’re under the illusion you have a positive addiction.
If you’ve never had a substance abuse problem, you might think I’m using the idea of fiction addiction as a simple metaphor, but I’m not, I’m talking about a real addiction. People crave drugs for more than just feeling good. A good high can make life worth living, give it meaning, making a dull world dramatic, and instill the desire to go on. Without the high, you feel what’s the point. Fiction has me hooked like that.
I have many sources of fiction. I listen to books, I read books, I watch stories on TV and I got to the movies, and on most days I spend several hours feeding my habit. And when I’m not taking in stories, I make them up in my head. I seldom take my reality straight. A Zen master would be constantly bashing me with his bamboo cane because I just can’t keep my mind focus on reality.
I chain smoke books. If I can’t sit and read, I plug in my iPod and listen. If I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, I make up stories that I fantasize about writing.
Now I know that many bookworms are going to horrified I’m suggesting that fiction is bad for you, and I am, but don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you give it up. If you’ve got the fiction addiction I don’t think you can give it up.
You know you have it bad when you’d rather read your book or watch your show than talk with a real person. You know you have it severe when all your favorite memories are from stories.
I could be doing something real, but I choose not to. At least that’s what I tell myself.
I’m going back to my book.
JWH – 9/21/10