every writer has their quirks.
some need a certain pen, a routine to follow, a single environment. coffee, a scented candle burning. an alarm clock. a specific drink, notepad, musician playing softly in the background.
quirks are expected, even honored.
addictions, however, are questioned.
addictions, obsessions, wants, desires, habits, compulsions: I won’t go into a discussion of separating one of these from another, for the lines between them are faint and wiggling. I will state, however, that we all have some of these in our lives, and that most of us are likely a bit embarrassed by one or two of them.
I absolutely love my precise V5 pens, and am saddened by being forced to write with anything else: this is a quirk, one that I can admit to without shame. as is my love for lemongrass candles, and for lemon verbena lotion, and listening to my favorite coldplay songs over and over again while trying to write.
I fear, though, that I have an addiction that, as a writer, embarrasses me. I love words, grammar, definitions, wordplay, all of that. and I love exceptional writing, great writing, fabulous writing. however, I also find myself pulled to read a genre of books you might call thrillers/crime fiction/mystery/whodunits: not exactly literary fiction.
jack reacher, joe pike, and myron bolitar are a few of my most beloved characters, ever. I even like alex cross, though he is slipping a bit, becoming less complex and more two-dimensional (hint, hint, mr. patterson). and I admit that reading books about these characters slips across that wavering line into addiction because what I find in them is escapism. which feels an awful lot like satisfying an addictive pull.
I need to escape. I can do it on my bike, but that’s not always enough. fiction that lets me escape is a treasured gift. I know the set-ups of these books are far-fetched, hard to imagine, unreal, or possibly scarily real. but when such plots are well-devised and cleverly written with intriguing, complex characters . . . I’m hooked.
and that is my secret for today, released to the world: I’m addicted to less-than-literary fiction. it makes me happy. please keep writing, harlan coben.