Write about your obsessions

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In her book, READING, WRITING AND LEAVING HOME, Lynn Freed tells a story of how at one time while she struggled to find something on which to write, a friend said,
‘Write about your obsessions’.

Our obsessions lie deep within, Freed suggests. They are so familiar and non-obvious to us that we almost do not recognise them.

Freed is obsessed with her theatrical and moody mother, she writes. My obsession would have to be with my father. I write this with certainty, but can I be so sure? If I ask myself then what else obsesses me I might start a list.

I have said it already, first on my list: I am obsessed with my father, the sheer size of him. The way he would take over a room the minute he entered it. The way his voice boomed above all others, the way he needed to place himself at the centre, the way he seemed unable to share. His will was all, his militant will, his will that ruled like a sergeant major, that crossed over any preconceived ideas about what we might do or how we might do it.

And yet brooding underneath his militancy, I sensed my father’s dissatisfaction. He never believed his will had been followed. He felt cheated by life, by the very existence of the children that he had helped to bring into the world because the only way he could marry my mother was to convert to Catholicism and in converting he had agreed to obey the church’s rules about the non-use of contraception. Given that he had struggled to practise abstinence or so it would seem in view of the number of pregnancies throughout my parents’ fertile years – twelve in all, and at least five of those each a year apart – my father failed to practise abstinence. And yet, ‘He loved it when I was pregnant,’ my mother has told me. ‘He was always gentle then.’

My father was not a gentle man. There was a cruel streak in him that I fear I have inherited though I try to keep mine in check. I try not to let mine slip out. But it does. The other night, a woman in our small writing group who chattered on endlessly and would not be silenced, told yet another story from her extraordinary childhood, one for which she provided thorough and well rehearsed details, as a statement of fact, and all from her memories and experience as a child.

In response, instead of applauding, I could not resist the comment:
‘Have you heard of the notion of the unreliability of memory?’
‘Yes,’ she said, ‘but all this is true.’
She was silent after that and went to bed early. Since then she has not dominated conversations with her endless detail. The conversation has become more inclusive.

This brings me to my second obsession: the stuff of fairness; my belief that everyone must get a go and that hopefully everyone’s go is proportionate to everyone else’s. Though I know I fail at this too. I know it rarely ever happens.

Perhaps the wish that everyone should get a fair go, and here I speak about fairness in conversation when together in a group. Turn taking, it is called. If the person in charge of a group in situations where there is such a person, does not take his/her responsibilities seriously and fails to move around the room and give each person approximately equal amounts of air time, then I become incensed. However, if by chance, I get more than my share – if I am one of the lucky ones – then I feel guilty.

I derive the greatest satisfaction from the illusion that a group is in harmony, that we all agree with one another; that we are having a wonderful time; that whatever experience we are enduring is equally wonderful to all. Even as I know that all of this is impossible, an approximation only and one that does not preclude the possibility of world wars.

This brings me to my third obsession, my family, not so much my present family as the one from my past. My preoccupation with my children and husband is more a constant force in my life, something I imagine I will never lose. I do not consider this to be a true obsession, more an ongoing love, but my preoccupation with my family of origin borders on obsession.

Just as my father held the size, my family holds the numbers. There are so many of us and I have never known a life without at least one or two or three of my siblings in the picture. My dreams are still haunted by my siblings, they feature nightly whether in direct form or even in the form of the people with whom I work, or my friends. I can always tell when a character in my dream has taken the place of a sibling. There is a particular feel, a peculiar mix of love and hate.

In her book, Lynn Freed quotes Marguerite Duras’s consideration of her childhood:

‘In books I’ve written about my childhood, I can’t remember, suddenly, what I left out, what I said. I think I wrote about our love for our mother, but I don’t know if I wrote about how we hated her too, or about our love for one another, and our terrible hatred too, in that common family history of ruin and death which was ours whatever happened, in love or in hate, and which I still can’t understand however hard I try, which is still beyond my reach, hidden in the very depths of my flesh, blind as a new born child. It’s the area on whose brink silence begins.’

This would have to be true of all my obsessions: they signify the tension between love and hate, between the desire to be at one with and the desire to get away from, the desire to caress and the desire to kill.

‘Kill ’im off,’ my father said repeatedly to my mother during his nightly drunken rambles. I did not understand his meaning at the time, but now I wonder whether he too felt as I sometimes do, shut out, unwanted, a wound to be excised.

This brings me to my fourth obsession: the desire to belong. I love nothing more than to walk into a building, a house, and to sense the familiarity of location – this is where I belong. I have sensed it after years of working in the one place. I sense it whenever I walk through my own front door. I know it is illusory – most things are – but it is a comfort to me and one that contrasts with the sense of alienation I feel when a place no longer feels welcoming. A place ceases to be welcoming when there is conflict, or when there are things going on behind the scenes that cannot be addressed.

This then brings me to my fifth obsession: the sense of wanting to get below the surface to what is really going on. To deal with the version of whatever elephant is in the room at any given time. There is always an elephant in the room. There are always in any situation subterranean rumbles that people work hard to skirt around and ignore. Most of the time I do likewise, especially when it does not matter – to me at least – in superficial situations when it is okay to float on the surface.

But when it matters, when we are meant to be having a meaningful conversation but we are not because we have been given the message that we cannot speak the obvious, the obvious to me at least, then I am like a restless ant, scurrying from one thought to another. I find it hard to settle in the room. I hunger for some sense of anchoring and it will only come when someone has said something about what appears to be going on underneath. Often, more often than not, this does not happen and once again I am left dissatisfied.

This brings me to my sixth obsession: connection. I long for connection, a sense of getting through to another person however momentarily, a sense of sharing, a glimmer of intimacy where we can share an affinity and a sense of at oneness, again however illusory.

Connection is illusory. It is like the truth, it is something we can only sense, we can only glimpse, we can only hold close to us in our minds, but it can never be grasped firmly. As soon as we try to get too firm a grasp on it we lose it.

Connection turns to possession, possessiveness; and truth turns to doctrine. Doctrine is dangerous, as is possessiveness. We must hold loose to our loves. I suspect it is our hates that enable us to do this.

Have I run out of obsessions? Perhaps the list should end here.

And you? Do you, too, write into your obsessions? Can you share yours?

For me this list becomes a deep and endlessly fascinating source of ideas and I thank Lynn Freed for sharing her friend’s suggestion.

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35 Comments on Write about your obsessions

  1. Ann ODyne
    December 26, 2009 at 10:17 am (8 years ago)

    Six obsessions at Sixth InLine, 'illusion' referred to twice.
    Well I think everything is smoke and mirrors so I won't argue about that.
    Because I have a crush on Russell Brand, I have dwelt lately on obsessives, him being one and all.
    Obsessed by drug addiction, obsessed with being naughty, recently obsessed with yoga, and then he met Katy Perry and it's all engagement rings and 'constant companions'. he's an obsessive.
    His mother abandoned by her husband when Russell was very young, his nature must be based in that loss.
    I know a person who used to be a hopeless lying thieving junkie, yet his obsessive nature morphed into body building and then into business success and he is now scary rich.
    All my life's frustrations manifest as a ridiculous empathy with animals.
    This week I have had the Ranger and the cops to some neglected horses, which are now moved where there is food. I am not in a position therefore, to give anyone advice.
    I'm nuts. all of the me's are nuts.

    Reply
  2. Jim Murdoch
    December 26, 2009 at 11:20 am (8 years ago)

    I don't think I really have any obsessions, Lis, preoccupations perhaps, but even then the word feels a little on the strong side.

    What drives a man? When I was young and full of myself I used to ask people that question all the time and I would rattle off broadly speaking what the most prominent psychoanalysts might suggest: Freud would propose sex; Adler, the desire for self-improvement; Jung, the need to belong. Most people couldn’t add much to that but one or two suggested love which is not unreasonable. For me it’s always been meaning that’s driven me, the need to make sense out of things.

    I understand your desire for connection. I expect that’s a driving force for the majority of writers but we also want to communicate on our own terms. I think ‘connection’ is . . . well, connected to the need to belong – they arise from the same core need and I think that core is also where the need to make sense out of things comes from. I would suggest that that need is the need not to be alone which is, according to C S Lewis, why we read as well. I can think great thoughts on my own but I seem to require verification at least, approval preferrably. No doubt that arises from a lack of self-confidence.

    I asked Carrie and she agrees that I don’t have an obsessive personality. She even questions whether ‘preoccupation’ is the right word. She talked about the fact that I keep coming back to the topic of truth in my writing and also the fact that I gain comfort from order (she said ‘tidying’ but that’s only one aspect of it) and she believes that these are simply a part of my ‘fibre’, aspects of who I am, in other words personality traits.

    My personality is ISTJ (using the Myers-Briggs Personality Types) and so you would expect me to be driven by duty, service and the need to belong. Again, I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessed by duty but I am dutiful and it’s a dominant personality trait, that along with being responsible – and, by extension, accountable.

    The concepts of duty, service and belonging to my mind to conflict with being true to oneself which is a bit of advice often given to people which I suppose equates to ‘esteem’ on Maslow’s chart and I have found that in order to be true to myself I have not been able to belong to a great many groups because the criteria for belonging required compromising who I am. It is a balancing act and I’m not beyond compromise – I compromise in the home every day – but only where I’m compensated in some way; a marriage should be based on give and take but when you start to move into larger social groups like political parties and religious groups there is less scope, they have their bylaws or commandments and that’s that. In these cases I prefer to do without belonging to satisfy the higher need.

    It’s interesting reading back over this how I’ve taken your ‘obsessions’ and treated them as ‘needs’. Clearly that’s how I view an obsession, as an artificial need, like an addiction or, to a lesser extent, a habit.

    Thought-provoking post, Lis. Enjoyed that I did.

    Reply
  3. Elisabeth
    December 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm (8 years ago)

    Well, AnnODyne, I did not know the name Russell Brand until now when you mention your obsession for and with him. Wikipedia and you fill in the gaps.

    I suppose I could have added that I have another obsession, a tendency to develop crushes on people, but rarely of the celebrity variety, though I have been known to 'fall in love with' certain writers, mainly women, for their literary personae.

    I always wind up disappointed, when the 'real' person fails to live up to my fantasy of her, as I glean it through her writing.

    It does sound as though your passion for animals could border on the obsessional, but I wasn't thinking so much of the obsessive compulsive type state of mind, as an obsession built on passion.

    To me animals are as vulnerable as or maybe even more vulnerable than children. This is enough to justify an obsession with them, if you ask me.

    It's perhaps akin to my preoccupation with fairness, justice and all having a say. Animals and children are often deprived of a say.

    No wonder you care and thank goodness that you do. If no one did then the helpless ones would have even less of a chance.

    The parallels you make between needs and obsessions is interesting, Jim. I wonder too whether connection is related to communication.

    When we are successful in communicating, then I suspect we have made a connection. The speaker and the listener are linked, at least for those moments. I suppose it is also possible to make a bad connection, like an abused child connecting with his/her abuser, and thereafter seeking out other abusers in order to keep the connection between being loved and being hurt alive.

    Despite my professional origins, I have never taken a Myers Briggs test, though I've often wanted to find out the signifying features of my personality as demnstrated through the test.

    I share your preoccupation I think with the search for meaning, and I can see to shine through in everyone of your blog posts.

    While I was away at the Varuna writers' retreat before Christmas, Peter Bishop, the creative director continued to emphasize the importance of writing in whatever form as an exploration of meaning.

    Without the ability to find meaning in our lives and experience, we might as well pack up shop and go home, we might as well be dead now.

    To me meaning is one of those things I almost take for granting. To be alive in essence is to find meaning in our experiences and our relationships.

    I'm glad the posting provoked some thoughts, Jim. It's always good to get such a thorough response from you. It sets me thinking all over again. Thanks.

    Reply
  4. Tommaso Gervasutti
    December 26, 2009 at 6:54 pm (8 years ago)

    Dear Elisabeth, thank you for your comments on Myths, I wish you great Christmas holidays too.

    I should have something to say about my father too, he was a difficult man, not all generous, often absurdly full of an untrollable wrath, impatient and selfish.
    Not always bad during my childhood, but later almost always terrible especially when I finished my teenager's years.
    After his death I wrote a poem on him and on what he "left", a strange poem which I'll maybe put in the blog.
    All my best, Davide (Tommaso)

    Reply
  5. Rikkij
    December 26, 2009 at 9:28 pm (8 years ago)

    E- if I have obsessions, I'd rather not think of them as such. (I dwell deep in denial) Gave up on the ones I share with you long ago. Too much headwind. I might be obsessed with people pleasing. It drives me crazy and I hate it. ~rick

    Reply
  6. Mim
    December 26, 2009 at 10:07 pm (8 years ago)

    I think of "obsession" as described in the standard definition: "Compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.
    A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion."

    I used to be obsessed with food, less so now.

    The older I get the less obsessed; I do feel anxious from time to time, but without obsessive feelings or actions, which is funny. Most boons of aging are ironic. Oh, great, my knees are aching but I'm not obsessing.

    Don't you think that most compulsive actions are an attempt to allay fear and not completely effective because the compulsion eventually takes over?

    Your thoughtful post has got me thinking!

    Reply
  7. BwcaBrownie
    December 26, 2009 at 11:49 pm (8 years ago)

    re "thereafter seeking out other abusers in order to keep the connection between being loved and being hurt alive.thereafter seeking out other abusers in order to keep the connection between being loved and being hurt alive." – many times we see the child of an alcoholic parent, has sense another one across a crowded room, married, and repeated history.
    Unhappy children connect their Primary Caregivers with a sense of fear. They can find themselves in a marriage where their 'comfort zone' – fear – is replicated. This fear need not result from being abused; it can come from 'marrying up' and subsequently feeling constantly inadequate.

    I have survived Myer twice, employment and education related.

    For Russell Brand in all his gloriousness, just get the DVD of St.Trinians where he reprises the Flash Harry role created in the 50's by George Cole.
    The gentle genius of RB is evident in his Tweets @RustyRockets

    My crushes are always dark clever funny men, in-touch with their feminine side. oh John Cusack!
    (and my ex-husband of course).

    My writer crushes: Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, and St.Germaine of Greer.

    Reply
  8. Dan
    December 27, 2009 at 5:55 am (8 years ago)

    Obsessions … This reminds me of Limes' "Why We Blog" (Why We Write). As you may know, I'm a recent new blogger, but already I'm beginning to see how blogging allows us to giving form, substance, words to our thoughts (obsessions and otherwise) and experiences. In one way it helps define who we are, and in another, by giving vent to the thought or experience, it enables us to set it down and be free of it, moving into the present and future with less baggage. One would hope that less baggage should help us live more fully in the present and see today with a clearer vision.

    With blog post, you can formulate your ideas in a manageable size, as small vinettes, without having to write a essay or novel.

    Reply
  9. Reader Wil
    December 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm (8 years ago)

    Does it help to get rid of obsessions, if you write about them?
    I don't think I have any obsessions worth writing about.
    Have a great week, Elizabeth!

    Reply
  10. Rachel Cotterill
    December 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm (8 years ago)

    What a fascinating post. I'm not sure what obsessions I have, if any… I have a general need to be in control, but I don't think about it very much.

    Reply
  11. Elisabeth
    December 28, 2009 at 4:19 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks for these responses, my fellow bloggers.

    Davide, your interest in your father is not so unusual, I think. Often our parents are the jumping off point for our obsessions.

    Rikkij, people pleasing is tough. I should know, I get into it a bit too, though less so these days. You wind up tying yourself in knots because of the cliche: you can't please all of the people all of the time; and what else is left over for you?

    Mim, thanks for the wonderful definition. I was thinking of the term obsession in a more literary sense. I suppose therefore the term 'preoccupation' might be better here, in order to avoid the heaviness of the more clinical, psychological meaning.

    Thanks, Brownie for helping shift the focus onto crushes. Crushes have more of the positive about them, more of the passionate, but like all extremes they too can be dangerous.

    Yes, Reader Wil, I write to help me to get a hold on my obsessions, maybe as Rachel suggests to feel a little more in control.

    Finally, Dan, I too have become a bit of a blog fanatic of late. Fanaticism and obsessionality are close cousins and again need to be tempered with thought, caution and a touch of humour.

    Reply
  12. JahTeh
    December 28, 2009 at 8:27 am (8 years ago)

    My obsession is quite peculiar for a blogger, my private self is locked away, down the stairs, through the dark hallway and behind the heavy oak door with the iron studs.
    I admire people who write about themselves with incredible honesty but it's not for me.
    On the other hand I will read every salacious bit of gossip and love the Daily Mail including the bad bits about Rusty.

    Reply
  13. Ann ODyne
    December 28, 2009 at 9:59 am (8 years ago)

    oh Coppy – there are no bad bits about Rusty. The DailyMail tries, but the commentors knock them down.

    Reply
  14. Elisabeth
    December 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm (8 years ago)

    Forgive my ignorance: who's Rusty?

    Reply
  15. Stephen Tremp
    December 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm (8 years ago)

    I also use quirks as obesssions, such as characters talking too much, little rituals they do, a trace of Turrets, stuttering, and such. Although these quirks do not define a character, I do incorporate such elements to keep things interesting and help distinguish characters from each other.

    Stephen Tremp

    Reply
  16. John Ettorre
    December 28, 2009 at 6:36 pm (8 years ago)

    I think this is right on. The old idea that we should write what we know doesn't really go far enough. When you write about subjects that obsess you, you tend to know it in all its many layers, and in ways that will bring it to life for a reader. After all, if we have any hope of making a reader care about our subjects, we REALLY have to care about them.

    Reply
  17. angela simione
    December 28, 2009 at 6:55 pm (8 years ago)

    wow. your bolg is amazing, elizabeth! i am one lucky girl to have landed here.

    i, too, am obsessed with ideals of justice. black and white. the RIGHT we often lack. and so maybe then i am obsessed with heart-break. that sorrow since justice is so often failed. the need for a voice inside those events. inside the tragedies. a way to repressent those unrepresentable things. metaphor. i'm obsessed with finding the right metaphors that will break the thing wide open so that we'll all see it in it's true form. or at least i will. and then we will all have compassion. or i will. my child-like hope, still, that the truth will set everything in it's right place.

    thank you for this post. it's got my wheels turning. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Ann ODyne
    December 28, 2009 at 8:51 pm (8 years ago)

    If you go to Twitter.com and put @rustyrockets into the 'looking for' box, you get to read his brilliant Tweets. Funny and touching. His girlfriend @katyperry is in there too.

    Reply
  19. Arija
    December 28, 2009 at 11:23 pm (8 years ago)

    Hi Elisabeth, nice (lovely word isn't it?) to make your aquaintance.
    I could write reams to this post of yours, but just one point, autobiographically we cen ever only go by our own truth, it may not match anyone elses of the same occasion but is truth none the less, no mtter how distorted it may seem, for it is what we ourselves have experienced.

    When we say something, as you did, that we think is cruel, so often it is the precise thing the other person needed to hear at the time.
    We take on the karma to further their growth.

    Reply
  20. Jane Kennedy Sutton
    December 29, 2009 at 12:21 am (8 years ago)

    I don’t feel like I’m an obsessive type person- maybe obsession is something that dissipates with age or maybe I’m just boring! But, I do tend to write about obsessive characters. I have no idea what that says about me!

    Reply
  21. Totalfeckineejit
    December 29, 2009 at 12:53 am (8 years ago)

    Great post,Elisabeth,really well written and a fascinating insight via your list.Plenty of food for thought, now what are my obsessions? Mmmm.

    Reply
  22. Elisabeth
    December 29, 2009 at 1:57 am (8 years ago)

    Okay TFJ, What are your obsessions? I've noticed in your blog a love for getting group activities going in the virtual zone. Would that be linked to an obsession? I'm just speculating of course.

    So Jane, maybe writing about obsessive characters is one way of dealing with a certain level of preoccupation in you. Do you consider perhaps that your characters, however different from you, might represent something of you? Perhaps not. But I'm all for the notion of a multiplicity of selves. We are not unified wholes, as much as some might like to think we are.

    Arija, thank you. I value what you say about the importance of our own personal truths and the degree to which others might benefit from hearing about these even as they clash with other beliefs they might hold dear.
    I suspect we all benefit from getting broader perspectives through other people's views, as long as they and we can hold to them lightly.

    Thanks, AnnoDyne, for introducing me to Rusty and thanks, Angela. Your emphasis on justice is inspiring. I think a search for fairness and justice and rage against injustice is often at the heart of powerful writing.

    Thanks, John, for your wonderful measured thoughts and words. We do need to write about what we know and I agree, its our obsessions we know best of all. After all they claw at our minds continually.

    Thanks, too, Stephen. I like the notion of 'quirks as obsessions'. Indeed our obsessions are quirky. They help to distinguish us one from the other. Passions, quirks, preoccupations, call them what you will, they often lie at the heart of meaningful writing. Otherwise why bother to write.

    Reply
  23. Kass
    December 29, 2009 at 5:09 am (8 years ago)

    Elisabeth – I have printed out your post because it is so rich with the kind of probing that stimulates me to deeper writing. I would like to deal with my obsessions, but I don't think I can, at least not on my blog, because so many of my extended family members read it and I don't think I could deal with the fallout. Some of my ex-husband's family read my blog (including my children) so my obsession with fairness and relationship is only lightly covered.

    There is always an elephant in the room with my children because I would become the hysterical raving madwoman if I said what was on my mind and it is always on my mind because their father (who is constantly brought up as some kind of hero) did unspeakable things to me so I NEVER spoke about it.

    In writing workshops when I use the character of this man, I'm told it is not good writing. It comes off like a prosecutors argument and teachers say no one wants to read about such an unlikable character. Obviously, I still have an axe to grind. Your theme of revenge writing has really struck me because for me, it doesn't work. It's not comely to confess others' sins. It comes off whiney. I don't know if the detachment will ever come. I think I would rather just leave it alone…or buy Freed's book.

    Reply
  24. Elisabeth
    December 29, 2009 at 5:29 am (8 years ago)

    I can understand your reservations. Fortunately for me I don't think any of my family members read my blog, neither from my family of origin nor my current family, especially now since I severed the connection of my blog to Face Book.

    A couple of my daughters felt that my blog comments, which once showed up directly on my Face Book page were not quite right for the chatty, social tone of Face Book.

    So I now feel freer in this more neutral environment.

    It must be hard for you given your experience.

    When I talk about revenge, I focus very much on the desire for revenge, not as an enactment but as a trigger.

    I think it takes time and much writing – maybe some therapy as well, certainly a lot of time spent sharing those feelings with empathic others, including your own empathic self – to work through that desire for revenge before you can reach a type of detached quality that allows you the writer to write from your desire for revenge without being controlled by it.

    I see it as a process of 'sublimation' in the old Freudian sense of the term.

    Recently at a workshop the creative director suggested that I write into my rage, not with any thought of publication or of anyone reading what I had written.

    It's a good exercise, 'a vomit on the page', he suggested and one for my eyes only.

    Maybe this might help you. I found it helpful after the event, though I found the actual experience of writing this way painful. But again, no one needs read it.

    It is probably not unlike what Julia Cameron refers to as 'morning pages', the cleansing writing we can all do to get rid of the emotional excess, before we begin to write in a way that communicates well enough with our readers.

    Sometimes even within these so called morning pages, I have found gems, little bits of writing worth sharing, but there's also a great deal of rubbish there that remains for my eyes only.

    Reply
  25. Tony nile life
    December 29, 2009 at 6:31 am (8 years ago)

    my obsession is blogging. not that's its an obsession!!! oh Yes it is I had withdrawal symptoms when my line went off a few weeks ago.
    And got pissed with everyone.

    Reply
  26. angela simione
    December 29, 2009 at 6:47 am (8 years ago)

    p.s. yikes! please excuse my misplaced z! i am so sorry! sloppy manners on my part.

    Reply
  27. Kass
    December 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm (8 years ago)

    Elisabeth – thanks for you comment on my comment – So helpful! Yes, I've done morning pages, but I guess I'm still carrying baggage. You've made me realize it's worth working out. I'd kind of given up, but I like your suggestions. Thanks.

    Reply
  28. Maggie May
    December 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm (8 years ago)

    this is a fascinating entry. obsessions are definitely the stuff of good literature- look at Lolita, Forever…Joyce Carol Oates writes of practically nothing but sex and violence!

    Reply
  29. Phoenix
    December 30, 2009 at 1:06 am (8 years ago)

    Oh, Elisabeth, I am so glad you found my blog! First, I love that you jumped right in and commented on mine. How awesome of you!

    Secondly, reading your obsessions…god, it's like looking into a mirror. You and I must be a lot alike…our fathers certainly were. I too have a yearning to know why my father did the things he did, a yearning to belong, to look under the surface of EVERYTHING, an innate sense of justice and fairness that sometimes causes me to stand aghast at the world and say nothing more than, "It's not FAIR."

    So glad you stopped by – I can't wait to read more of your wonderful posts!

    ::hugs from the U.S.::

    Reply
  30. Liosis
    December 30, 2009 at 6:28 am (8 years ago)

    My obsessions? I tried to get rid of those once, for the misguided reason that it would prevent procrastination. I know what I used to be obsessed with but I'm not sure what I'm obsessed with now.

    I think I have something close to the obsession with connection, that being an obsession with community. I never manage to take steps to creating community around me but it is always something I want. Just having people to cook and eat breakfast with, or to study with seems wonderful. Of course this probably has to do with being recently uprooted.

    I agree with the one who said it is more preoccupation then obsessions for us. I also have a preoccupation with being human, as you might have noticed from the entry on my blog you kindly commented on (it is unfortunate that we live in different Victorias, I had a sudden hope that I could track you down for a nice in depth discussion about our views on the subject.) I guess that the community thing is part of this.

    I have an obsession with clarity. I often am unable to communicate my ideas to people simply because I cannot manage to get them into the right words or the right format. I believe that our ability to understand each other must be quite amazing if anyone ever manages to understand what I am talking about.

    By the way, thank you for your recommendation to 'the Young Philosopher.' I have only read a little but I already adore it.

    Reply
  31. Reader Wil
    December 30, 2009 at 8:11 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks for your visit to "My pub with no beer"… I don't drink beer. I sometimes drink wine.
    I wish you a great and happy New Year.

    Reply
  32. Elisabeth
    December 30, 2009 at 10:43 am (8 years ago)

    Tony, thanks. I share the blogging obsession, which is more like addiction at the moment but once I get back to work, I'm sure some of the energy will pass. In the meantime it's wonderful to make contact with so many interesting and diverse people from so many different parts of the world.

    Angela, please don't fret about misspelling my name. It is a common occurrence. I fuss about the 's' in my name but I don't get too bothered when others inadvertently use a 'z'.

    Phoenix, it's great to find a kindred spirit in our similar fathers. It seems a concern for fairness is often the concern of writers.

    And Liosis, it's great to hear from you., too. I'm glad you enjoy Damon Young's blog. The two of you, as philosophers have a similar writing style , and it seems to me similar preoccupations.

    Finally, Reader Will, it's lovely to meet you here in my blog.

    I enjoy your combination of the Dutch and the Australian connections. Needless to say, it's a meaningful connection for me.

    Reply
  33. Ces
    January 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm (8 years ago)

    Holy crud! Too many obsessions! I started thinking of my own and I think I have more! I hate it when someone dominates a conversation and cuts off another person that is just plain rude, however, there are conversations where one is welcome to dominate and to lead and I gladly acquiesce by listening because I am enamored, enraptured, captivated – my children for example, I love listening to their days and what they think. I felt the same when my husband was courting me and he started talking about history and mathematics. Now I just want quiet with his cuddles. I love listening to my best friend but she loves listening to me too. I worry too much. That's my obsession. I don't like conflicts either but I never let anyone get past me with an unfair act. I am obsessed with avenging a wrongful act. I want to be mean but my friend says I really am not. That's my other obsession. If I love someone, they can do no wrong. Oh I know – I am so darn obsessed with drawing when I should be painting and I am obsessed with my appearance and my shoes, they have to be impeccable, not look worn. Oh for goodness sakes. I am a piece of work!

    Reply
  34. Lynette
    February 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm (5 years ago)

    I can *only* write about my obsessions. They are what give my writing drive and me motivation. I share many of yours, and also Lynn Freed's baffled obsessions with her family. Thanks for the post; thanks for introducing me to Lynn Freed.

    Reply
  35. Elisabeth
    February 26, 2013 at 9:56 pm (5 years ago)

    I'm glad to hear I'm not alone with some of my obsessions, Lynette, and pleased that you find Lynn Freed worthwhile. She's such a wonderful writer and thinker. Thanks, Lynette.

    Reply

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