Obsession

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Here is a piece written by a good friend of mine that’s definitely worth reading.
Obsession, by Jon Smith

Obsession is a strong word.  Not in thee sense of being obsessed with some
quick fad, or some kind of food.  True obsession. Something so important
that it is on your mind nearly all moments you are awake, whether a quiet
thunder or constant scream.

I have two obsessions that are so constant that they force me from sleep on
some lonely nights in my truck. The first has become a compulsion in my
adult life and that is writing instruments and paper goods.  The second is
writing.

Personally, writing instruments and paper goods seem to culminate around
typewriters and vintage/eclectic papers.  I understand that saying
typewriter in the modern age gives off the striking mental image of skinny,
high waist jeans, some obscure band t-shirt and a coffee cup demanding
attention with clicks and clacks in a public space.  I can understand that,
but my obsession isn’t fleeting, or some general demand to live in a parody
off the life of some famed author or poet.  There is some deeper draw to
typewriters for me.

When I began to write, I didn’t have a computer.  It was somewhere around
1993, or 1994 when my dad told me I should find a way to express my
unfettered energies.  At the time, he and I would spend our weekends
sitting through Twilight Zone re-runs and long walks to the movie theater
at Delco Plaza for double or triple features of whatever happened to be in
theaters.  He suggested that I write down all the stories that I always
made up when we walked to the theater.

It didn’t take long to realize that my penmanship was not a strength.   It
is still as awful now from an inability to focus.  So, my dad went up into
our attic and brought down an ugly brown case.  Inside was the first
typewriter I ever owned, a Royal portable.  The typewriter needed a new
ribbon, so we wen to the store and picked one up.  No, really!  Back then
you didn’t have to travel to some kitsch dealer in Brooklyn to get
something like a typewriter ribbon.  Anyhow, it took the both of us to
figure out how to replace the old dry ribbon and for me it was about the
greatest thing in the world.

Every time I visited my dad, I would spend more time getting to know the
Royal.  I was staring to learn about computers in school, which felt easier
because I spent my weekends playing on a keyboard.  I ended up giving that
typewriter to a former girlfriend for Christmas.

Just to bring these thoughts to a close, I understand the simplistic idea
of being hip through anachronism.  I keep my collection of typewriters at
home where they belong, not drug out as a focal point of my existence.  I
haven’t written a novel on any of them, but I do write most of my poetry on
any of the ten typewriters I have collected.  Does it matter what methods
are used to convey your thoughts?  Not at all.  Consider what the Marquis
de Sade used to write his final works.

My second obsession is writing, which I am sure I share with a few people
on the planet.  I have shelves filled with notebooks of abandoned ideas,
and false starts.  There are so many facets of writing that it sometimes
feels like an immense beast I am trying to tame, rather than some torrid
lover who fills me with joy.  A hurricane, a calm sea.

I was talking to a painter from Exton the other day about writing and
art.   He has a vast array of subjects that he paints, and quit his job
thirty years ago to follow his of painting as a career.  I told him about
my forthcoming novella Finzel; a Psychotic Love Story.  He asked if I had
shopped it around for a publisher.

No.  Not at all.  I wouldn’t want the confines of the structure that sells
to take away from whatever I have to say.  The work I do possesses me, and
it possesses me for a reason.  Finzel took over me for a three day span and
wouldn’t let go until it was finished.  I doubt anyone would ever pick it
up and publish it “as-is” because of the style that it was written in,
theme, etc.  It was written honestly, with fervor and a little delirium.

He commended me on believing in my work that much.  I told him that one day
I will give up my steady paycheck and fight to make a life out of writing,
like he had done with painting.  Well, it can be a harsh thing, with plenty
of skipped meals and the stress of not making the rent at the end of the
month.  I’m married to a wonderful woman who supports my work, paints my
covers for me, and wants me to succeed with my writing.

Maybe writing isn’t the only part of that obsession.  It’s on my mind all
the time, as I drive down the road thinking of what I should dictate next,
or typing when I get back home, riffing ideas with anyone who offers an
ear.  It’s a constant.  But so is the idea of finally getting myself
motivated to hit the road and read wherever there’s a microphone and an
audience, selling books in truck stop to passersby for gas and enough money
for a sandwich.  An unsafe life scraping by until some work of mine finally
hits a bigger audience.  Maybe my second obsession is success with creative
work, and not just writing.

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

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