Little Obsessions

Little obsessions run in my family.... kids can't stop talking about snow (and it looks like yet another storm has missed us!)
Little obsessions run in my family…. my kids can’t stop talking about snow (and it looks like yet another storm has missed us!)

Have you ever been fixated on something and you can’t stop even when good sense dictates you should let it go?

Oh. Maybe it’s just me.

On Sunday night, I noticed that some of the shaped poetry on my blog isn’t displaying properly now. I haven’t changed themes, and at one time, the formatting was fine. It was eleven o’clock at night when I ventured into the WordPress themes. I previewed no less than thirty themes and found a reason to not use each of them. By the time 2:30am rolled around, I resorted to keeping my same theme and just replaced the text of the most messed up poem with an image so it would display properly.

What happened here is classic “me.” Something gets stuck in my brain and I obsess over it, analyze it and basically over-think it until I end up doing nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is a decision, but other times it’s simply sticking with what I know because I’m unsure about what I don’t know. Too often I fall back on clinging to the familiar.

There are occasions when the obsession does turn to action, though. Like when I eat one Reese’s peanut butter cup and save the other one for later. “Later” turns out being ten minutes of non-stop thinking about how yummy that chocolate and peanut butter would taste. I won’t mention what happens when I have Oreo cookies or chocolate-covered cherries in the house…

In retrospect, I realize staying up that late and beginning the work week on three hours of sleep wasn’t smart. It’s probably no coincidence that I’m now fighting off a cold and sinus infection. I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson, but I know it’s just a matter of time before the next little obsession worms its way into my consciousness.

I was all set to end this post, when an envelope scribbled with my messy writing caught my eye.

She carries more baggage than an airport carousel.

One thing they taught me was that my affections are currency to be bought, sold or bartered

Beneath the envelope I found a folded paper with a forgotten young adult story idea. It began, “Marty Hines used to be the most popular girl in school. Now, she’s the prettiest has-been in juvi.” I don’t normally write YA, so I set this aside several months ago.

I discovered yet another partially-written story. I had a vague recollection of it as I skimmed the text, some of which I couldn’t read. Have I mentioned my handwriting is horrible? I paused at these lines: I was his ego trip. I brought him the adoration he could get from a puppy, except I was potty trained. 

I can’t say why these thoughts were tossed aside to gather dust. Something about timing, I think. Perhaps in all this randomness hides a glimmer of my next obsession.

I’ll know if I’m frantically typing at midnight, paying no mind to the passing of time or loss of sleep.

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34 thoughts on “Little Obsessions

  1. Timothy Price December 18, 2014 / 7:16 AM

    I think we all get fixated on things — we are going to get them right no matter what! It’s like we are not going to let the thing defeat us. I have stories started and I don’t know if they will ever go anywhere but my computer, and my wife often comments on how many “good” photos, in her opinion, stay on my hard drive never to be seen by anyone else but me and her. But I could easily overwhelm the world with photos, and a perhaps a few of my unfinished stories — but I think it’s best I leave them as they are — mysteries to all but me, myself and my wife.

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 10:57 AM

      Finishing something does feel good, but sometimes I find stuff sits because I’m not ‘feeling’ it. If I can’t feel the story, I can’t expect anyone else to. The trick is remembering the idea when I’m in the right mood/frame of mind to really get into the story. As for your photos… I hope to see some of them make it into your posts 🙂

  2. Bryan Ens December 18, 2014 / 7:27 AM

    I sometimes wish I got MORE fixated on things. I sometimes come up with great (in my opinion, at least) story ideas, but don’t stay fixated long enough to do anything with them….oh well, maybe someday. When I do get fixated, though, I’m like you and stay up way too late for things that could have certainly waited til the morning…

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 10:59 AM

      I find I get fixated on the ‘stupid’ stuff. I really should get fixated on something like cleaning my house, haha! Maybe one day your story ideas will click and you’ll follow them through to an end 🙂

  3. nrhatch December 18, 2014 / 8:02 AM

    Why can’t we be obsessed with healthy obsessions? Like exercise. And eating copious amounts of broccoli. 😛

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 11:01 AM

      Haha, so true, Nancy. I’ve never been fixated on running a marathon or staying away from the dessert table at gatherings 🙂

  4. Sean December 18, 2014 / 8:21 AM

    Sleeps for when you’re dead haha. I think most people will obsess over something. It’s only when the cops are called that it becomes a problem. I understand that lack of sleep issue. That’s been this week. I remember when I was back in basic and I wrote a letter to someone. About half way through I fell asleep. When I went to finish that letter the next day, I had no idea what I wrote. Half of it wasn’t even words anymore but a squiggly line. I think I made some comment about not knowing what I was saying and finished the letter. I wonder if more people will tell the truth when they are tired compared to when they are not. Anyways, take care of yourself and keep up the scribbles as they may lead to the next story or thought.

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 11:05 AM

      Hmmm… I feel like I’m almost dead… does that mean I should sleep now? Had to laugh at the cops being called. Yeah, that crosses a line, I think I had a class in college where my notes ended up like your letter. Ironically, the class was Memory and Cognition and I put it off until my last semester, so I was tired and burned out. Class was at 1pm, which didn’t help. I finally bought a tape recorder to tape the lectures so I could listen to them later. I was horrified to find out my naps didn’t go unnoticed – when after class one day, I asked the professor a question about the 20 page, 10 reference paper and he made a comment about it. So embarrassing! About truthfulness, maybe… until the person is coherent enough to lie 🙂

  5. Debbie December 18, 2014 / 8:28 AM

    Your new story ideas have piqued my interest, Janna. I, too, have scraps of ideas collecting dust in a box, just waiting for me to return to give them life! It’s hard sometimes, isn’t it, to find the time to do them justice.

    I don’t think I would be worth two cents if I had to function on three hours of sleep! Gone are the days when I could stay up all night and do anything other than zombie through the next day. Take care of yourself — you don’t want to be sick over the holidays!

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 11:07 AM

      Time is a problem, Debbie. I don’t think I was worth much at all. I had to go into the office on Tuesday and I came home and went right to bed. I slept for 10 hours and didn’t want to get up (but had to get kids moving and ready for school!) I don’t think we’re doing much over Christmas, but no, I don’t want to be sick!

  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) December 18, 2014 / 8:46 AM

    Alas I lack that fixation… if something is too much work I try to find shortcuts.. or sometimes just give up. Fortunately in our family my wife have that fixation.. but there is a drawback with that too.. I look forward to see what you can do with your ideas.

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 11:08 AM

      It would be nice to be middle of the road on this, Bjorn. Fixated when necessary, but able to discern what should be left alone. Yes, that balance would be a welcome blessing!

  7. momsomniac December 18, 2014 / 12:49 PM

    I m already standing in line waiting to buy the two books with more of that prose!

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 7:43 PM

      Glad you stopped by, Momsomniac! I hope you have a nice holiday with your family 🙂

  8. Carol Ann Hoel December 18, 2014 / 3:21 PM

    I obsess over food sometimes. I’ll like some kind of food or a flavor of coffee or some special dessert, and I’ll eat it often, too often, for a long time. Then without warning I won’t want it anymore. Even if I have some on hand that I had stocked up. I know myself pretty well, so when I see this trend happening, I do not allow myself to buy too much at one time, so I don’t have it wasting away on the shelf when I stop liking it. I don’t think this obsessiveness applies to my writing habits.

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 7:44 PM

      I do that too – stocking up a little too much. If I’m lucky, I’ve stocked up on stuff others in the house will eat 🙂

  9. suzicate December 18, 2014 / 3:52 PM

    Ha, I know all about finding scribbled notes…but often I can’t read my writing!

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 7:45 PM

      Glad I’m not the only one who has trouble reading her own writing, Suzicate 🙂

  10. Lance December 18, 2014 / 6:08 PM

    Yeah, I’m having trouble reading your blog…but don’t worry, I’m reading.

    Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays if I don’t “see” you before next week.

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 7:45 PM

      Really? I wonder if it was the theme. I’ve changed themes now so maybe it will be better? I hope you have a wonderful holiday as well, Lance!

  11. joannesisco December 18, 2014 / 6:29 PM

    Even your random discarded sentences are interesting little tidbits – I particularly liked ‘she carries more baggage than an airport carousel’. Sounds like some people I know 🙂

    • jannatwrites December 18, 2014 / 7:47 PM

      That one just came to me out of the blue. I did a quick character sketch on that one (which I have yet to expand on. Sigh.) Glad some of those lines sounded interesting… if I end up with something blog-length, I’ll post it 🙂

  12. chlost December 18, 2014 / 8:05 PM

    Obsession, or dedication? Sometimes, it’s necessary to focus and stick with it until something gets done, or I will never have the idea, the energy or the drive to finish something. I will often get to a point, feel that it’s finished, then sleep on it and my mind sees it differently in the morning. But if I didn’t get to that point I needed to be the night before, I would obsess all night over it. Not sure that sentence makes sense. No matter which way, I end up with too little sleep when I get on this type of jag. Luckily for me, it doesn’t happen too often. Sorry you are feeling sick. It means that you should be feeling much better by Christmas, though. Take care of yourself.

    • jannatwrites December 20, 2014 / 11:58 PM

      Well, dedication sounds much more… normal! I’ve had things get stuck in my head, too – and there is no sleeping when that happens. I’m feeling a bit better, except for an annoying cough so I think Christmas will be okay 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Chlost!

  13. clarbojahn December 19, 2014 / 2:45 PM

    Unfortunately I obsess over negative stuff like hurt feelings. And maybe I’m being too sensitive as that I have been accused of by my siblings. But friends dropping me hurt worse than anything i can think of. And then I obsess over it. I guess those are not little obsessions. Those are big. Big obsessions.

    LIke you I have scibbled little notes to self about poems half started and forgotten. And of course than there are those where we can’t read our own writing. 🙂

    • jannatwrites December 21, 2014 / 12:09 AM

      I’ve done that too, Clar. Often I exaggerate an interaction in my mind and it keeps me up at night. Sensitivity is good in that we try to not intentionally hurt others, but when it goes into overdrive, it’s horrible.

      Glad I’m not alone with the scribbled notes habit 🙂

  14. Emilio Pasquale December 19, 2014 / 11:33 PM

    My obsession is my photography. I come home from work and, most nights, work in Lightroom until it’s time for bed. Then I can’t sleep because I’m so wound up over a photo or technique. Isn’t it fun?

    • jannatwrites December 21, 2014 / 12:12 AM

      Your obsession has wonderful results, Emilio!

  15. Paula J Wray December 22, 2014 / 11:11 AM

    Obsessed? Maybe so, but I love the way your mind works. All those snippets were delicious.

    • jannatwrites December 23, 2014 / 9:51 AM

      Thanks for reading and for the nice comment, Paula! I appreciate you stopping by.

  16. agjorgenson January 6, 2015 / 6:30 PM

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who is victim of his/her own poor penmanship!

    • jannatwrites January 7, 2015 / 12:17 AM

      I’m glad it’s not just me, too! It’s so frustrating… I think all my best ideas are too messy to read, haha!

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