Someone on the internets pointed out that I might be a wee bit obsessive. This was in response to my recent discovery of Ali Smith, author of Hotel World and The Accidental. I read her latest book last weekend and loved it so much I resolved to read her entire canon at once. I drew up a list of her books and got Laura (the woman I live with) to fetch them from the Glasgow Uni Library. Luckily, or unluckily, they had all her books in stock.
So I set about reading them, one per day. On top of this, I had to write 1000 words of my novel per day, eat at designated times and go outside to fetch utilities. It seemed a little challenging but I like the discipline and sense of accomplishment that follows such an undertaking. So I performed this heroic reading task, omitting one book of short stories through exhaustion. Q: Does this count as obsessive, or merely an act of readerly love?
Then it occurred to me: I’ve been carrying out this sort of obsessive, pointless behaviour all my life. It also occurred to me I probably share these afflictions with other beings. So in the spirit of sharing it might help to catalogue some of this obsessive/anal behaviour. I think there’s a marked difference between anal and obsessive. Who knows where I stand. For example:
- I used to make collage cassette tapes, mixing music with sound effects and radio clips. If a noise, cut-in or sound was not perfect I would erase this microsecond of sound and record it again and again. No one listened to these tapes but me.
- When I was a video game addict, I always had to complete games in the most perfect way possible. In the case of Crash Bandicoot, this involved resetting the console whenever I fell down a pit and lost my shot for the perfect score and gems.
- When playing someone a song I love, they must listen to it in silence, and may not speak until the final seconds of the running time are up, even with songs that fade out.
- Until recently, I could never give up on a book, even if I hated it from the beginning. I persisted in the belief that my own weakness as a reader was at fault, and at some point the story would captivate me, and readerly heaven would dawn.
- Books with heavily creased spines stick out on one side. I have to sandwich them so tight in the bookcase, I can pull the stuck-out side in line so it becomes as straight as the other books. I also have lists of which books have problem spines and a list of which books to replace with brand new hardback editions.
I have also—through Laura’s doing—been sucked back into watching popular comedy drama Due South. This childhood favourite is so irresistible to me, I’ve had to set aside a spare our or two to catch up on old episodes among the reading and writing. So to cut a long story short, I haven’t left the flat much. I’m sure