Late Night Confessions Of A Story Addict

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I was soaking in the tub the other night, letting my mind wander as I worked out a nasty story issue.

Yes, I'm one of those few writers whose personal hygiene actually improves while in the thick of a project, simply because I do my best work submerged in bubbles.  You would think that would be a good thing, but six or seven hours a day in the tub is hard on the water bill, and even harder on the love life... unless you're really into giant prunes... but I digress.

So there I was in the tub, praying that the water-heater gods would replenish my paradise with steaming hot goodness, when pieces of the current story puzzle clicked together in a massive brain explosion of epic proportions.  Thoughts were coming fast and hard, and like bad spaghetti and too much tequila, they needed to be vomited out.  NOW.

I'd long ago learned the hard way that laptops and tubs don't mix.  (Don't ask.) But did I claw my way out of the tub, stumble naked and cold down the hallway, risking slippage and neck breaks in the process (don't ask about that either), all in order to catch the massive spew of bullets my synapses were firing at a million rounds a second? 

Hell No!

I simply flailed my arm over the side, and grabbed onto one of a number of legal pads close by.  Yes, many a scene has been written with my arms dangling over the side of that tub.  And although some have occasionally accidentally taken a bath with me (much like many a book), all were salvaged.

I once briefly considered making notes on the iPhone, but my texting skills suck, and besides, I was smart enough to know water and phones probably mix just about as well as water and laptops, and only slightly better than water and cats.  (Don't even think about asking about that one.)

So there I was spewing notes, water sloshing everywhere, my hair perched on top of my head like a ratty bird's nest, when I was hit by a rare glimpse of myself from the outside.  And it wasn't pretty.

That one glimpse was all I needed to know with certainty that I'm an addict.

My drug of choice isn't booze or pills or hookers or food.  It isn't even stupid Facebook games with cutesy names and irritating notifications.  (Although I have been known to indulge in a few of the above occasionally.)  My drug of choice is story.

It's taken over my life.  The evidence is everywhere.  Coat pockets full of scraps of notes, pens under the couch cushions where there should be loose change, bedside table spilling over with legal pads onto the floor, purses crammed full of notes written on overdue bills (sometimes in eyeliner), and don't even ask about my car (uhh... but if you need a lift somewhere, I need at least thee days notice and a couple of moving boxes).  And that's just the stuff you can see.

It's friggin' ugly.

But can I really call it an addiction?

Let's see... I wake up in the morning thinking about it, I go to bed thinking about it, and everything in-between is organized so I can indulge it.

Does it impair my judgement?

Of course not!  Except for, well, that one time, out of desperation and lack of a pen, I wrote notes on my thigh in lipstick while driving in heavy traffic.  But only that one time.  I swear!  Uhhh, okay maybe it does mess with my judgment a little.

Does it interfere with my relationships?

What relationships?  I have none, specifically because my addiction makes me a miserable asshole.  Unless, of course, you like having some stranger you haven't seen in days wake you up at 4 AM by bouncing on the bed because they just typed 'FADE OUT' and want you to come play with them. 

I couldn't give it up if I tried.  And I did try once.  My world collapsed around me.  It wasn't pretty.  I wasn't pretty.  In fact, I was downright ugly.

And this got me thinking about addictions.  Maybe we're all addicts, all slaves to something.  For some, it's booze or crack or sex, for others, it's fame or community or the security of a two car garage.

For me, it's story.

Not sure if it's healthy, but the way I see it, addiction doesn't have to be bad.  If you get addicted to the right thing, you may just be okay.

Okay, so maybe that's a justification play right out the the addict's handbook, just so I can get my next story fix with a clear conscience.

So what?  That's what addicts do.

I'm a story junkie.

I hate it.  It makes me miserable.  And I wouldn't give it up for anything.

pic by  Lotus Carroll