Someone (I’m sorry, but I forget who) once said: the only way to cure an obsession is to get another one, and I’m sure there’s a lot of truth in that. My definition of obsession is when an interest in, or a need for, something is so powerful that it controls you, rather than the other way around. It’s a word that smacks of unhealthiness in so many respects and sets me thinking about scarily obsessive fans (not that I have any...), OCD and other addictive behaviour with negative associations. But at the same time, a creative obsession can drive you to do something, to make something happen, or to help you actually finish something you’ve started, so maybe it’s not all bad.
I really don’t like the idea of becoming fixated on anything although I know sometimes I do get a little bit obsessed (if it is possible to rate obsession by degrees). But then, who doesn’t at one time or another?
I’ve tried to learn by some of my slightly, and temporarily, obsessive mistakes – most of which are quite ridiculous. For instance, some years ago, I got obsessed by a massive, volcanic-looking spot (don’t laugh) which, typically, appeared on my cheek the day before a rare night out to a party which had promised to be full of influential and amazing people (it wasn’t). I thought if I dabbed a bit of undiluted antiseptic on the offending pimple on an hourly basis I might zap it into oblivion just in time. I was in and out of the bathroom with my cotton buds and bottle of Savlon (other brands are available) like a creature possessed - which I suppose I was. Indeed I managed to nuke the zit, but it was a good square inch of skin around it as well that I also zapped into a very red and raw oblivion. By the way, if anyone wants a cheap and ugly chemical face peel, I can highly recommend this method. I went to the party that night looking like I’d stuck a piece of overcooked bacon on my cheek….and I’ve never mourned the absence of a stupid spot so much. I won’t be doing that again.
On the creative obsession front, I once bought a pack of Fymo modelling clay which, if you’re not familiar with it, is similar to plasticine so you can perhaps imagine how much fun it was to play with. With Fymo, though, you can bake your creations in the oven for twenty minutes which hardens and preserves them forever, and it even comes with a little bottle of varnish to give that professional looking glaze. You can also mix the colours into lovely vivid patterns and swirls so, unlike plasticine, you don’t get that horrible shitty brown when you blend them. Well, I don’t know why, but… I started making psychedelically coloured Fymo slugs and caterpillars. And I got obsessed. I spent hours each weekend making them in as many different groovy colour combinations as I could. Every surface in the flat started to fill up with these many-hued creatures, in various stages of production: raw, cooked, cooling off, just-varnished... I think my obsession with creating Fymo creepy-crawlies only stopped when my interest turned to making intricately patterned gift boxes, or was it when I started hand-writing my own fanzine, or was it when I got my table-top screenprinting kit…? You get the idea.
However, perhaps one of my more healthy (?) obsessions is to do with music. Yours too? I thought so. Just one song can get under my skin intensely for a period of time too and during that phase I simply want to hear it over and over again. It hits the spot (without the need for Savlon…) So it is with some irony that I’ve written this post because the song which is currently obsessing me is this:
And it works on so many levels.