Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Games People Play

When does passion become addiction?  What do you do now that you could give up tomorrow without regret?  Chocolate?  Red Wine?  Cinema? I once, for my health's sake, gave up coffee, tea and alcohol for several months. I was very depressed at the time. The giving up of stimulants was part of a fight to become well. My mind threw various horrifying symptoms at my body.

I had no symptoms at all when I got breast cancer. The tumour in my breast was large but right behind the nipple and even the specialist couldn't find it. Luckily I was forty nine and had my first mammogram. Nobody knows how long the tumour had been there.

We got the old old story again last week. More women are getting breast cancer because they are self induglent fools, sitting at home on their fat arses all day and drinking bottles of red wine. I am a woman therefore I am to blame.  Crap, I say!

Is a man blamed when he gets prostate cancer?  Very often people who smoke get lung cancer. Many of them don't of course and people who don't smoke still get it. It's a question of guilt. Get your body up out of that inertia and scrub the kitchen floor and mind you don't enjoy anything, you stupid person.

I'm addicted to red wine, chocolate, my daughter ( ah, but that's love), and my work.
I have a passion for writing but then I get paid for it. When you turn your passion into work perhaps that is the greatest self indulgence of all. Would I write if I didn't get paid for it?  You bet I would.  Look at this. Few people read it and yet I do it. Is it then indulgence?

I have become addicted to spider solitaire and at the weekend I learned to play Street Fighter on Playstation whatever it's number.  I could become addicted to that. I was Cammy, with a figure to die for, shedding forty years in the process and gaining a long yellow plait and huge blue eyes. A woman who could kick in a man's head with ease. You can't think how often I've longed to do that. I was powerful.  I kicked ass and anything else within reach. Gosh, it made me feel better.

It gives me a tremendous guilt trip to knock off the minutes playing computer games. I love classical music and spend money going to concerts. This would be seen as culture whereas computer games as pointless indulgence. I don't see there's any difference. They both make me feel euphoric.

As a child I loved reading. As a writer I measure it like it was mathematics. Is the plot any good, could she have used a better phrase, a better word? Does the ending work?  Is there too much flashback?
Dear God, my passion has turned into criticism and that really is work.

I once read a definition which said that work was something you did when you would rather be doing something else yet when I rang up to obtain my old age pension this week they assured me that I had worked for thirty nine years.

Teaching I found hard work. Dusting and ironing also. But writing?  That's pure self indulgence and I've  been lucky enough to get paid for it.

Now I'm off to play spider solitaire. I'm trying to polish off level two this week and move up the really difficult level three.  I suspect I may never master it and will be found dead at ninety nine, slumped over a computer with my hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds still in a nasty muddle. Rather like life really.

The only thing I don't want to be addicted to is smugness, that awful pit which sits on the shoulder or most of us as we get older, waiting for the opportunity to deprive ourselves of the things that make us feel good. That really would be one passion too far. In the meanwhile I know what it is that I love about writing. It's because I've never figured it out, because the levels are endless, because it gives you a wine and chocolate high and because the result makes me feel ecstatic.

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