When The Obsession Works

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 3.618% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I have a lot of rules around my polyamory – rules instigated mostly by my wife and long-term partner.
But they’re good rules.
See, I obsess about things and can’t stop.  So when a relationship goes south, it’s all I can think about.  I’m in the shower, wondering how I could have said things better. I’m at the movies, but I’m not watching, I’m contemplating my next text to her.  I’m cuddled up with my wife and I love being there but she notes that crease in my forehead that signals that somewhere, I’m still wondering, how can I fix my relationship with this other woman?
So they said, “Okay, we need rules to ensure you date more stable women.”  And I said “That sounds great,” because when you’re dating five women and two of those relationships are slowly disintegrating and you’re obsessive, well, it feels like running a goddamned marathon.
But.
But.
Right now, I’m in the process of revising a book, and the third act needs to be broken down and completely rewritten to take this book from “Acceptable ending” to “Awesome finish.”  To properly rebreak an act, you have to be willing to slaughter every darling – yeah, these individual character moments are heartwarming, these plot twists are great, but what happens if we get rid of them?  What happens if I take the entire last act, pretend it didn’t happen, and regrow a new last act like a lizard regenerating a severed limb?
I walked the dog this morning. I think. What actually happened was that the dog tugged me around the block while I examined all the elements in my book and weighed them and proposed theories, and I was back at my doorstep and barely registered the mile’s journey.
I’m unsure whether I’ll be able to fix this book properly – and please don’t tell me “You got this, Ferrett!” because I read that strongly as “If you can’t pull this off, we will come to hate you.”
But if I fail, it won’t be for lack of effort. I feel battered as a moth against a lightbulb, and I’ve only been contemplating this for two days – and I know I’ll spend the next weeks mired in this until I restructure it into something more perfect, or at least more fitting, because I don’t know how to stop.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can take your native neuroses and repurpose them into something productive.  I won’t say I’m happy while I’m rebreaking Act Three, but if I manage to fix it then I’ll have utilized some pretty terrible instincts to create good art.
Much better than trying to repurpose a relationship.  The odds are better, anyway.

1 Comment

  1. Lyn Belzer-Tonnessen
    Feb 4, 2016

    If you can’t pull this off, we will still love you.

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