Thursday, April 12, 2012

Overcome by Obsession


Overwhelming. Overpowering. Overheated.

No, I don't mean the fragrance.

We all have it, that one (or two or three) thing(s) that we can't let go. That habit, that object, that one kind of food, that quirky behavior that stretches the bounds of reason and makes our inner id chortle with glee.

I have an addictive personality. Not that you become addicted to me (though, come on, admit it, you really do), but rather that on the rare occasion when I truly latch onto something obsessively, I am a total goner. No half way mark, no moderation. Complete and total blow out. Though I do wonder why my obsessions can never be about something good like exercising regularly or writing 10,000 excellent words a day.

Because I am who I am, most of my bat-crap crazy levels of obsession occur around media - movies, television shows, and books. We have a term for it in Romancelandia - to glom or glomming. I glom, you glom, he, she, it, gloms. (Sidebar: speaking of conjugation, five years high school Latin and the only verb I took with me is efficio: to make out. I make out. You make out. We make out....)

Glomming is what occurs when one discovers a new-to-you author whose writing hits all your happy spots and that's before you find out he/she has a lengthy back list of work for which you must now set aside your entire life and glom onto these titles in order to immediately read them all back to back to back. When glomming, one loses all sense of time and place outside of the obsession. I call this the James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser effect.

In television, this translates into lost time watching marathons of a show's DVDs, which can span multiple seasons back to back to back if so available. Ditto movies. And that's before we get to the Internet communities that dish and squee and generally happily lose their collective shit over a found mutual love for a shared obsession.

I am nearly gone and absolutely lost in Lost Girl as my newest obsession. You may have noticed as subtlety is not a virtue I tend to cultivate. When I stumbled on the show's U.S. debut in January, I was not prepared for how quickly I would get sucked under its spell. And while not perfect (this is me managing expectations, but if you like urban fantasy genre, you should totally go watch it), it hits my empty Whedon spot on multiple levels and that makes me only too happy to shrug eh - whatever at those glitches and move on.

There is no zealot like the newly converted and boy howdy, did I tell the world about my new obsession, warning my friends and family that I was/am totally aware of how absurd I sound and yet I could/can not stop it. One night during the LSFW conference last month, my friends pulled up pictures of the show on an iPhone so they'd know what I was yammering on about, and collectively burst out laughing at the manic expression that came over me at the sight of sexy, sexy wolf shifter Dyson in situ.

You gotta be able to laugh at yourself, guys, and I excel at it.

I gotta say, I was not prepared for the emotional black hole that arrived after I watched the Lost Girl Season 1 finale in January. I was in mourning for nearly two weeks and an absolute nightmare to to live with, I promise you. Huzzah, show, for turning my insides out with emotional turmoil. I managed to limit my downward spiral to a total Twitter meltdown after the finale aired for U.S. audiences this past Monday night. Personally, I think that shows growth.

It's been a long, long time since I went this far down the obsession rabbit hole. Not like this level of madness can last for long without a restraining order eventually coming into play. By that point, real life is (hopefully) already on the job, dialing me back from the abyss. Yes, I realize how ridiculous it all may sound to someone who doesn't quite Get It, but that's the point. Obsession is ridiculous. Ridiculous and crazy and consuming and often inescapable.

Here's the thing - I freaking love it.

Hot tattoo alert!
I love writing my stream of consciousness recaps for Heroes and Heartbreakers as though there are 300+ people sitting around me laughing and snarking along (plus it lets me write off all my Internet data mining as research. Win!) We're having the best conversations in the recap comments, deconstructing character and motivation, laughing at the sharp dialogue, deep pathos, and shallow digs, reveling in the woman power that is Bo and the sexual frankness the show promotes through her character, not to mention the greatness that is Kenzi and her wicked sharp words, while marveling over Dyson, the big bad wolf boy who hits all my hero hot spots, and his smokin' back tattoo.

I love having passion for something again and the inspiration it breeds in me. I love the romance and the fantasy and converting my friends to the show so they can go mad with me. I love meeting and chatting with other fans (dear Lord, I am a fan) in the great online community that's developed on Twitter (holla!). I love that this is a media savvy cast who not only greatly appreciates their faedom, but interacts with them online and occasionally in person at events. I love the strong, true work they are bringing to this show every single week and that thrill that sparks my veins and makes me silly grin when one of the actors who has entertained me so well in and made me care so much for this show and these characters follows me on Twitter.

I seriously dig the crazy.

Because that's what it takes, what's required in order to create art in any and every incarnation. It takes crazy obsession - with your medium, with your content, with your characters, with your craft, with the voices in your head and the images and word pictures they evolve into on your screen, on your page, on your canvas, or on your stage. We need to dive down the rabbit hole to find the weird rooms with strange food and, OK, sometimes slightly perverted or off-kilter characters in order to produce something magical.

We need to be overcome by obsession in order to create greatness.

By the look of things, I am well on my way.


  1. I'm not creative, but I love consuming others' art. I favor books as my entertainment and can still recall the thrill of discovering Laurell K. Hamilton or the first Bujold novel I ever read. I'm with you in my obsession with LG, I think because it brings to visual life the things I love about UF books. Plus, your recaps are the best EVER. Thanks for letting me share in your obsession.

  2. @Bungluna - You are welcome in my obsession any time. ;-)

    I did a total glom on LKH in my day. She published an excerpt in an anthology with a JD Robb novella, and I was so hooked, I went and bought all her books up to that one (I think there were 9 at that point).

    I'm visually oriented myself, so I think you're absolutely right about LG, and how it's like seeing a UF book come to life before our eyes. The whole Aoife back story actually put me in mind of one of Larissa Ione's Demonica series books, which are paranormal, not UF, but those lines blur easily.

  3. I discovered LKH the same way! It's like we're long-lost fan-twins!

    Enough with the (!). I usually prefer my own imagination, so I favor books which allow me to make my own 'movies'. I have to admit that for some reason KHR's depiction of wolfboy has totally captured me. AS is doing a great job, too imo. I'm just trying to avoid deranged stalker territory and stay within the adoring fan limits. ;-D

    1. They are great together and their chemistry is the stuff showrunners dream of finding for their shows. You know how much I love that whole relationship. And KHR has really brought Dyson vividly to life. Excellent work all around.

  4. I haven't seen it yet, but didn't that finale just *scream* Joss Whedon? Heartache lives here.

  5. @Lana Baker - YES! When I first saw the finale all I could think was "I haven't had a show rip my heart out like this since Angel lost his soul." It's the Whedon-school of romance: happy=death. And yet, we fall for it every time!

    Thanks for the comment!

  6. I owe you a huge thanks for turning me onto this show! It's not quite Buffy level fascination here. Yet. But it's close.

    1. Oh, it's entirely my pleasure. Nothing better that looping your friends into your crazy. I'll drag you down with me all the way yet, Julia!

  7. I am not sure that this is the right word; obsessed. Am really thinking that enthralled works so much better. I say this because when the show airs, I seem to be unable to move....with or without his shirt on..:-)

    1. Snort. The survey gods will accept "enthralled" as a viable alternative to "obsessed," Linda, never fear.

      I too am locked in place while viewing and have been known to reply shrewishly to any untoward interruptions. Disturb at your own risk. ;-)