Obsessions... Do You Have Them?

“Mom, c’mon!” Blake says.
“But do you see?” I say. “I just have to go meet him!”
“Mom.” Ben sighs, looks at his brother, rolls his eyes.
Blake grins.
They know their mom, and they accept the outcome. Have seen it thousands of times.
I trot off to the mutt tethered to a young man walking down L.A.’s Fairmont Ave.
“Hi!” I say to the guy.
He clears his throat, and his startled look bodes ill for my request.
“Can I pet your pup?”
His lips transform into a welcoming smile. “Sure. His name’s Eggie. He’s really friendly.”
“Thanks!” I crouch and begin my favorite ritual—giving and receiving the love of a dog.

Gracie, Penny, Tally, Princess, Penny I

Gracie, Penny, Tally, Princess, Penny I

Obsessed. Yup. I’m obsessed with dogs. I suspect this particular obsession is part of my DNA. From my first memory of a fluffy white dog (a Samoyed) when I was four to my first Penny, who adopted me when I was six, to my current Gracie and Penny, I’ve been dog crazed. I not only love them, but I relate to them, feel them. Making that eye-to-eye connection with a pup means the world to me. The downside—my progress is slow when I go for walks.

Obsessions fascinate me. They can sneak up on you unawares and pounce. Two words: Office Supplies! (I’m organizationally challenged, and so I think they'll always fix things. They never do.)

Obsessions can bonk you on the head like Thor’s hammer—such as my mad, passionate affair with Zuni fetishes. (No, not that kind of fetish!) Each carving is unique, and each one I’ve collected plays perfectly to my love of stone, of critters, and of American Indian arts. Ditto knitting and fiber. Have you ever felt merino or cashmere? Guanaco or angora? ’Nuff said.

But I take my obsession to a whole new level with writing. Any writing, but particularly mine. Why? Perhaps it’s because my writing obsession grew slowly. First came my love of books and reading. (It continues. I’m currently fangirling on Grace Draven, Jeffe Kennedy, Ilona Andrews, B.A. Shapiro, and Nalini Singh, all amazing wordsmiths.)

Long, long after that came my love affair with words, and, eventually, a love of my words, as well as the words of my students. Which is why I tend to edit ad nauseam. It took 13 tries before I was satisfied with Chest of Bone. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Like with a shoe-leather steak, you can overcook prose, too. Yet a well-crafted sentence is a beautiful thing to read.

Obsession is part of my craft. If I weren’t passionate about words, I’d be a crummy writer. I’m not saying all writers need be obsessed. But I’d stink at writing without that impassioned focus.

Sure, obsessions can be negative, too. But I’ll leave my bad obsessions for another blog post… Or maybe I’ll just ignore them altogether. A plan.

What are your obsessions?