I’m in the Burger King in Keelung Harbour, waiting to speak to some LDS members about literally God-knows-what…
I’ve decided to make it a habit to write blog posts whenever I get fast food to try to counteract the negative physical effects with some potentially positive mental ones. So…
I think I’m addicted to stories. This past week I read Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and oh boy if that didn’t take me on a roller coaster of emotion. The book spans several decades so it’s understandable that some characters die. But you know, that wasn’t the saddest part of the book. What practically brought me to tears weren’t the people, but the town dying.
Ecologically, this makes sense. A human community, like an ecosystem, is capable of nourishing a multitude of individuals. It has the ability to perpetuate itself far longer than the individuals who transiently occupy it. So it’s understandable that its loss will be more profound. A community dying is a sad thing. And so, after finishing the book, I physically put it down, but mentally pondered over the characters and their interactions. I began to feel low. I wished I knew more of their story. The last chapter of a good book is like a funeral. You may continue to think of the characters and their stories often, but there is never anything new*.
At first I thought this feeling was exclusively this book because of its emphasis on community**. But then I realized I’d felt this way before after reading books or watching TV series.
- Battlestar Galactica. I probably would’ve binge-watched all 75 episodes and the two-part miniseries (in total, over 75 hours of content) in 4 days after finishing all my finals sophomore year if I hadn’t had to go out into the woods for Outdoor Action. Regardless, I thought about the show constantly while out on the trail. I blew off plans with friends to watch this show. I got on the wrong train to Princeton and ended up in South Amboy because I was watching this show on my iPhone. And I didn’t even care because as I waited an hour to get back on the right train, I could watch this show. After it was over, I thought: now what do I do with my life?
- This winter, I thought I might be depressed because when I woke up in the morning all I wanted to do was lay in bed. Then I realized I wanted to lay in bed all day because that’s where I binge-watched the new episodes of House of Cards.
- I tore through the 1000+ pages of the Millenium series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) over Winter Break, Finals, and Intersession sophomore year. To avoid coming down, I jumped into The Hunger Games, a high lasting only a few months, stretched out that long only because of the movie. After that I thought Divergent would help me “move on,” but it raised my hopes and dashed them expertly. But then The Fifth Wave happened and I felt captivated in that story, albeit at a time I should’ve been working on my thesis…
- I’m terrified to start reading Harry Potter for this reason alone.
It’s my understanding that addiction is when you cannot feel good unless you have or are about to have the thing you are addicted to. Therefore, addiction is not the proper term. In fact, it’s offensive to those who battle/battled life-threatening addiction. The proper word is, perhaps, obsessed.
I’m obsessed with stories. And this in a world where it’s becoming easier and easier to access stories: watch Battlestar Galactica on your phone. Download Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café in Taiwan.
And because form follows function and vice-versa, as the medium to view the story changes, the makeup of those stories change. A Netflix Original or Amazon Prime show doesn’t need to follow the same thought process as a network cable weekly serial. The show creator knows I don’t have to wait a week; at most I wait 20 seconds for Netflix to autoload the next episode. So they make it so I don’t close the tab.
All of this feeds the obsession.
And I can’t help being reminded of a quote by Macklemore, but if you want a quote from someone who said it before Macklemore and can provide more ethos, a Winston Churchill quote basically says the same thing.
Macklemore: “If you can’t stop thinking about it, never stop working for it.”
Winston Churchill: “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about?”
So… maybe I ought to be a storyteller?
*I suppose this is where fanfiction comes into existence.
**In an interview in the back of my ebook, Fannie Flagg said the first character she thought of when outlining the book was the café.
***I don’t know why I’ve set this up as a constitution. I think I just like the idea of a preamble, as in an explanation of why I’ve written this thing, but I didn’t know what to call the main text of the post, so I figured I’d just constitution-style it. But it’s not like a constitution because it’s not laying out any laws or anything.