December 19, 2011

Obsessions: What are they? Posted by David

What are obsessions? To go the typical essay route, the dictionary defines an obsession as "the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc" ( So, unlike when you like something and think of it from time to time, or love something and find it filling a space in your life, an obsession dominates our thoughts. Kinda scary when you think about it in that context.

But an obsession isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sure, you may have found yourself obsessing to the point where you made yourself sick or worse over something. Often we even face ourselves during these situations and ask "Why am I obsessing over this?" We may find ourselves unaware of our obsessing over something but generally we are pretty aware when we're obsessing over something too much. But what about when we're not hurting ourselves with our thinking?

These bad moments don't detract from our good experiences with obsessing. Maybe you've found yourself reading a book and couldn't put it down. Have you found yourself waiting in long lines just to be the first to see a new movie, or play a new video game despite the fact that it won't matter when you actually experience it? Perhaps you've found yourself eating the same food for a week, or listened to the same album twenty times in a row or...

You get the idea. Almost every person could admit to having at least one, if not more good obsessions that help to define who they are as a person. Something which may not dominate our thoughts all of the time, but when we get onto the topic of them, there isn't anything else in the world to discuss. And sure, we may even know what our bad obsessions are and be unable to fix them. I for one tend to obsess way too long over conversations that haven't even happened yet, which in the end proves futile since the conversation never goes any of the ways I thought out.

Whether we recognize them in our lives or not, obsessions are something that occupy a great place in our lives, and which lend themselves greatly to art. For the sake of this post we're talking writing. What better thing to write about than the topics which you can't seem to stop thinking about? In writing as a medium, the cliche' obsession is love (especially with poetry) but to limit writers to one obsession is like limiting artists to one color. The world is filled with things that people obsess over that are easily transferred into writing!

It's one thing for writers to write, but another thing for writers to write about their obsessions. A different side of the process comes out when you're trying to put into words an emotion which we generally accept without analyzing. Why do we obsess over certain things? How are we changed by our obsessions? What do our obsessions tell the world about us?

There's a lot of discussions to be had, but we'll save those for the future. This isn't the last conversation that will be had on obsessions, but it sets the stage for what we at obsession literary magazine are looking for in the submissions we take, as well as the framework for the discussions to be had in the future. What are obsessions? That's what we aim to find out in the issues of the magazine we have published, as well as those which we aim to publish in the future.

David is one of the founders and editors of Obsession Literary Magazine and the maintainer of Obsession's blog.

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