Obsession. That’s what’s fueling my character Eli, his obsession with Jasmine. He’s a man so in love with her, that he’s ignoring everything around him, risking his own relationships and his job security for a woman who wants nothing to do with him. He’s following her, stalking her, fooling himself into believing he only wants to keep her safe while becoming a danger in his own right.
I know how it feels to become obsessed with something. I often fixate on things to the exclusion of everything else. Usually it’s a certain subject or maybe it’s a book. I became obsessed with The Lord of the Rings and I read almost anything related to Middle Earth. I did the same with Harry Potter, and I became fixated with Catholicism that I read everything Wikipedia had to say about the Popes, from St. Peter to Benedict XVI.
I also know what it feels like to free fall into an obsession with a person. Though I never went so far as to stalk her, I would imagine it would be a very short slide from interest to full-blown psycho. That’s a scary confession to make. It happened after my split with my ex, and I wanted to keep tabs on her even though the thought of her with someone else hurt me. Seeing her happy without me stunted my own road to recovery. I eventually shut her out, not wanting to feed the madness that threatened to consume my sanity. Eli never makes that decision.
For me, that’s what scares me about Eli. He loved her once, and now that love has become a perverse mockery that threatens Jasmine, her new beau, and even Eli’s own relationship with Cyndi. He doesn’t care. Could that happen to me? Could I become that obsessed that I’m willing to lose everything for a love that doesn’t even exist? Could it happen to you? Has it happened to you?
I hope not, but it’s a legitimate fear. It’s too easy a trap to fall into. We can obsess over an ex-love, an unrequited love or crush, or even a celebrity. Have you felt that pull into madness? Have you felt yourself drawn down a path that leads to oblivion, where reality ceases to matter, and only the object of your desire does?
My characters tend to be an exaggeration of my own flaws. Eli is so myopic that he fails to see the damage he is causing even to the object of his obsession. He willing follows the road to perdition whereas I turn it inward and chose to walk away. I don’t believe in hurting others if I can help it. I don’t believe in pursuing a love that does not return my affection. That’s a masochism, pure and simple.
I write about my pain, and I write about my fears. I write about the betrayals that hurt me and I write about the hope of finding love on the other side. I write about my experience in life and love. As I write them, they become separate from me, a creation born from my experience, but made to fit a story I’m trying to tell. There may be elements of truth in the telling, but a fiction all the same.
But obsession scares me. It’s like a drug whose call burns in your veins. It’s a longing that’s hard to ignore, and it’s a perfect way to fuel the madness one Elias Grey.