My Fiction Addiction

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

7 thoughts on “My Fiction Addiction”

  1. It’s like you’re inside my mind Jim.

    Do you get the DTs when you are in-between books? When I’m reading a great book everything is fine, life is fantastic, but then when I’m done if I don’t know what I’m reading next I’ll walk around in a haze for a day or two and I’ll get depressed. And that will last until I find the next high. Because not just any book will do, it has to be the right book.

    I’d love to say I only read good books, but sometimes the right book is just an easy read.

    1. I always want the purest heroin. I’m always seeking the best book I’ve ever read. That’s why if I start a book and it’s no good, I won’t finish it. Why waste time on a book that doesn’t get you high? My life is dull, and I don’t feel alive unless I’m dwelling in a great fictional world. But I’ve gone past thrilling. Books that offer just rollercoster rides aren’t good enough. I need complexity.

      Luckily I don’t get the DTs often. I have quite a stash of great books waiting to be read.

  2. add me to the list of people who share this addiction. i too would rather read a book than socialize, or just about anything else. i suspect i think about books, reading or writing, almost constantly. i have always considered it a passion, but t is truly an addiction–albeit a pleasant one i have no desire to kick!

  3. I love a great story…especially great characters. I am always reading, listening, looking for my next great book. What are your all-time favorites? I’m listening to Dune now, and reading Blink.

    1. My all-time favorite books are the Heinlein juveniles that I discovered when I was 13. Every few years I reread them. In recent years I’ve been collecting them again as audiobooks. After that I try to discover new books that really stand out, like Life of Pi by Yann Martel. In recent years I’ve been surprised by how much I like YA novels, like Harry Potter, His Dark Materials Trilogy and the recent Hunger Games Trilogy. I also love history and science nonfiction.

  4. Chalk me up to the addicted column! I even cringe a bit when I have to take up a memoir or some foolish reality for my book group. I’m about to get on a good roll for October: M Amis, Josh Ferris, either Tyler or Trevor, and then delicately place the cherry on top with a re-reading of Straight Man by Russo. Can life get much more gloriously self-indulgent? I ask you.

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