“You’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed,” says Iowa Bob in the novel, Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving. Some lines stay with you. I read Irving’s novel forty years ago and still think of this phrase nearly every day. Obsessions – read: passionate interests – are the fuel of life.
Writers are rock stars. I wouldn’t cross the street to see Mick Jagger, but I’ve driven 500 miles on two occasions to see my literary heroes, Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient) and Robertson Davies (The Deptford Trilogy), in Stratford, Ontario. In early adulthood, I wore a maroon T-shirt with the J.D. Salinger book title, The Catcher In The Rye, printed on it, replicating the paperback edition’s cover.