Hipsters and Obsession


Last Saturday, I went to Williamsburg for a friend’s birthday. For those of you who aren’t from New York, Williamsburg, in the Brooklyn borough of NYC, is the hipster capitol of the world. (See the Urban Dictionary definition of hipster if you don’t know what that is). I am not a hipster. I am a nerd. We are an entirely different breed of human.

I never feel like I fit in when I go to Williamsburg. I don’t own skinny jeans or ironic T-shirts or thick-framed eyeglasses without lenses. I can’t name obscure bands from the 80’s and no one has ever described me as effortlessly cool. 

Behold. The Hipster.
On Saturday, I made one concession to hipsterhood–I wore a vampy shade of red lipstick that is basically the uniform for Williamsburg female residents. But despite my efforts to blend in with the crowd, this weekend I felt even more like an anomaly. You see, something’s happened over the past few months. 

All of my friends are in relationships. In varying degrees of relationships, it’s true–some have been dating their boyfriends for years, others are just at the onset of a new relationship, and a few are somewhere in the middle. Regardless, on Saturday night I found myself at a table surrounded by couples. How the hell did this happen?

And in fact, my friend asked me, “So what’s been going on with you, Sally? Any updates in your love life?”

To which I had to respond, “Well, no.”

“Why?” she asked me, as though my answer were offensive. 

I said, rather defensively, “I’ve been too busy. I’ve been working on my book.”

I realized something in that moment, as soon as the words left my mouth. I do have a boyfriend. I have two. You may have met them–their names are Braeden and Tristan. They’re smokin’ hot.

Over the past few months, I have spent far more time with Braeden and Tristan–Sam, too–than I have my real, flesh-and-blood friends. I spent more time trying to describe the way Braeden looks with his shirt off than fantasizing about my hot Irish neighbor upstairs (don’t worry; he doesn’t read this) or my secret Wattpad lover (he does). I swear, I’ve dreamed about the characters in Paladin. They’re with me every second of the day.

I’m not trying to say that this is a good thing. It’s probably unhealthy, and it’s not something I think I can successfully explain to someone who doesn’t write. I don’t know if I can successfully explain it at all. Hell, maybe I am crazy.  

When I first started writing Paladin back in October 2011, writing was a hobby. I wrote on the weekends, an hour or two here and there during the week, because it felt good to write for pleasure again. I had never attempted to write a novel before and I didn’t know what the heck I was doing (still don’t). It was a time of experimentation and learning.

But then the story took on a life of its own, especially the last few months I was writing it. It was like I was possessed. Whenever I wasn’t at the office, I had to write. I didn’t care if it was 5:00 am in the morning and I had to be up for work at 8:00. The story of Paladin was trying to burst out of my skull and I couldn’t put it to paper fast enough. I wanted desperately to get to that happy ending that was playing like a movie on repeat inside my head.

I wonder if writing will always be like this for me–all consuming and compulsive. I wonder if I will always feel so attached to my stories–Paladin is like the result of a 15 month pregnancy. It is my beautiful baby (you should see the fathers). And I wonder if other writers, or artists, feel this obsession with their work. Does your story control you, or do you control the story?