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.

Yellow City Comic Con

I attended my first Comic Con today, which was held in Amarillo, TX. Yellow City Comic Con was a small gathering of who you would expect would attend, various nerds and geeks celebrating their particular awesomeness. There were artists selling their artwork, most, oddly enough, focused on comic book characters, steampunk enthusiasts, cosplayers, authors trying to get their names out, food vendors, and people like me wanting to see what it was all about.

Since I was a first-timer, I didn’t know what to expect. Sure, I’d seen clips from sit-coms, internet clips from larger conventions, and okay maybe I had some idea, but it was all so new. Add to that the fact that I’m among unfamiliar people and character types, I felt a little like a fish out of water. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience, just a new one. It’s good for me to grow, or so I have been told.

My friend bought a few things, and I did buy a book for her, Splintered by A.G. Howard which the author patiently waited for us to purchase so she could autograph it. That was a awesome thing to do, in my opinion, in that A.G. was actually on her way out, her time at the convention having come to an end.

Also, and this was a bit awesome, she recognized me. She couldn’t remember how, but at least she remembered seeing me. I had already attended two of her book signings. I have all three hardback books signed on my shelves, the last of which I reviewed here on my blog. I know it’s a silly thing to be excited about, but leave me alone. I’m allowed to feel some excitement about things! Makes life worth living.

Unfortunately, we did miss the panel for Chris Sabat. That door actually said Pannel Room – hurray for spelling! – but I digress. I mean, I don’t know who he is, but my friend did and she was slightly upset. It didn’t help that I may have laughed a little. I’m such a horrible friend, but I did buy her a book. It evens out in the end, if you ask me.

It was an interesting experience, especially seeing the cosplayers walk around without any inhibitions. In fact, I envy them. To be able to be yourself and allow yourself the freedom to simply enjoy the moment is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage to wear a costume. I think I’d make a convincing and sexy Sailor Moon. Or not.

I want to go to another Comic Con soon. There’s one in Lubbock in February. I’ll make sure to keep that in mind. I also need to find out when Dallas has theirs. Also, and this is just me wondering aloud, how can I put myself out there to have a booth of my own to pimp my own books out? I suppose I need to finish one up. There’s always a catch!

Writing on a Sunday Afternoon

It’s Sunday. Hallelujah and amen! I’m sitting in a bakery, enjoying a latte and working on my book. I think I may have developed arthritis in my left hand, but it might just be the cold. It’s still chilly outside. Why do they have the a/c on? Regardless, I’m working on my book for the first time in a month, and I’m ready to be done!

I had planned to work on it a little yesterday, but my friend had other plans. Part of that is my fault. I really wanted to go the The Cheesecake Factory for their avocado egg rolls. It was worth driving almost 400 miles. I had to suffer through two pet stores, but I eventually got my egg rolls. Also, I ate a delicious burger, and a beer.

But even before then, having to wait an hour and a half to be seated, we went across the hall at Stonebriar’s Mall to the Barnes & Noble. I don’t know about you, but I get excited when I’m in a bookstore, and a little sad. Excited because of the number of books at my disposal to be read, and sad because of the limited state of my finances.

I didn’t let that deter me from searching, finding several titles that I need to buy. I always scan the bargain tables first, hoping that a title or two may jump out. Then I see what’s on the best sellers table and new releases. I walk with no clear idea of what I want, only desiring for a book to jump out at me. One did, The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell. I can’t wait to start on it!

My friend also bought a couple of autographed books, Splintered and Unhinged by A.G. Howard. I already bought her an autographed copy of the third book when the author was signing books at the B&N in Amarillo. While there, I couldn’t resist looking to see if my friends might have their books in stock. Sadly, they didn’t have them in the store. Oh well.

Still, I see in the bookstore an indwelling space of knowledge and entertainment. I’ve met a few authors, most just at the beginning of their careers, but exciting nonetheless. This is what I’ve chosen to work towards, to have my own writing published, hoping and waiting for a reader to spend their hard-earned money to read what I have to say. That, I believe, would be satisfying and humbling.

Until then, I’ll labor in obscurity, honing my craft, working towards that moment when I’ll be ready to put myself out there to be read, to be enjoyed and criticized. It is at once scary and exciting. I want to enjoy this for a moment longer. Maybe, God willing, I’ll find some small measure of success. I can only hope and dream for it. No, that’s not true. I’ll also have to work to earn it. So be it.

A snow day is just a reading day

Looks like I may be snowbound in the morning. Even if I’m not, I have no intentions of leaving the house. Tomorrow will be a day just to relax and maybe do a little reading for myself. I don’t have, or maybe it’s truer to say that I don’t take, the time to read anything just for the pure enjoyment of reading. It’s become a chore to read and that’s a shame.

Yesterday, I made it to the book store. Maybe I should back up a little. Last week I went to the local Barnes & Noble for attend an A.G. Howard book signing for EnsnaredWhile I waited for the signing to start, I browsed the selection available, and I found The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I have to admit I’ve watched the movie but I never read the books. The horror!

Also catching my eye was a book by Guy Consolmagno, SJ* and Paul Mueller, SJ entitled Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? …and Other Observations from the Astronomer’s In-box at the Vatican Observatory. I’ve come across Br. Consolmagno on several science shows on Discovery. I have always found what he has to say to be illuminating.

As a lover of fiction and fantasy, I knew I needed to buy The Hitchhiker’s Guide…, but as a Catholic myself, and one that has an interest in science, Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? also piqued my interest. At the time, I didn’t have any money to spare, and the little money I couldn’t spare was spent buying a copy of Ensnared to be signed.

Which brings me to yesterday. I had some time to burn, so I went back to B&N to browse and kill some time. I found The Hitchhiker’s Guide..., and I decided to buy it. I chose to wait until payday to the other book, but I had to buy a second book, reasonably priced. Since I’ve been wanting a new copy of it, I bought myself The Hobbit.

I’m almost done with Douglas Adams’ novel. I’ll probably finish it tonight. I may or may not read The Hobbit. I’ve read it so many times already. I do have other books on my too read pile so I have plenty to read, regardless. Either way, I plan to enjoy my day off and allow myself to disappear into another world for a few hours. It’s a nice way to get out of my own skin and into an adventure, all without leaving the comforts of home.

Now that I think about it, that sounds rather Hobbitish, and perhaps that’s not a bad thing. But I do have a rather Tookish desire for real adventure, just not enough to brave the cold and the snow.


*Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits.