storiopathy: the sad diagnosis

The thing alcoholics and drug addicts have in common? Denial. And isn’t that true of any addiction? Even ones that don’t involve mind-altering substances. Such as storytelling.

If a story I’m following gets cut off unexpectedly, I go into withdrawal. The three last pages of a novel have been removed by some dastardly would-be comedian; a television show is yanked in mid season; an earthquake requires that the theater is evacuated. To me all of these are equally unnerving, because I’m left dangling. Even if I can surmise the ending with some certainty, I need to see it happen.

Except in one situation. In a long, drawn out serial presentation, I often need to know before the writers, directors, producers want to share that information. I am, in short, a spoiler junkie. I want the story when I want the story, but it’s also true that you telling me won’t be enough. I still have to read it or watch it for myself.

Is there a ten step program for people like me? People who simply won’t take no for an answer. Those last three pages of that novel are available to somebody, somewhere and so there’s only one logical thing to do: two a.m. googlespasm that lasts until I’ve found those pages, or have given in to crushing defeat. In which case, there’s always overnight delivery from Amazon.

You see how dedicated I am to my craft? (And if that argument works, stop reading right now.)

I know I’m not alone in this. I have had phone calls at eleven at night from people frantic to get hold of the season three premiere episode of Farscape. This is my own fault, as I lent them season two. What choice do I have but to drive across town and deliver the season three dvds. Because I know what that’s like. I understand it. I am the person who keeps checking iTunes to see if they are going to make the rest of the episodes of Canterbury’s Law available. It seems to have been canceled in midseason, without resolving some really crucial story lines. I want to know what happened. I insist on it.

Hi, my name is Rosina, and I’m a storiopath.

This term was coined (as far as I have been able to trace back) by Michael R. Weholt.

Here’s my prediction. If you are a storiopath, you’ll go read Michael’s post on the subject of storiopathy and immediatley need to know more. Trying to resist? Here’s how it starts:

In 1983, in Paris, a woman found an address book lying in the street. She picked it up and later photocopied it, then returned it anonymously to the owner whose name and address were indicated inside.

Using the photocopy, the woman began contacting the people listed in the book.

Earlier, the French daily Libération had offered the woman part of its front page to use however she wished for an entire month. The woman told the people she was contacting that she wanted to use what they had to say about the unknown man, the owner of the address book, a man she had never met, to build a portrait of him. Over the period of a month, she told them, she would use what they had to say about him to construct a portrait of that man on the front page of Libération.

This apparently delighted the people she had contacted. They said that if it was anyone else but the man in question, they would never participate in such a thing. But they said since it was this man, they would do it. They said he would love it.

If you can STILL resist the pull of this narrative, you are not a storiopath. Now, does that strike you as a good thing, or a bad one?

5 Replies to “storiopathy: the sad diagnosis”

  1. OK. It’s a creepy idea, as Michael at some point refers to it.  And yes, (hangs head), I went.And I’ve heard this sort of obsession to find the end of a story or of something as perfectionism.  No?  Or perhaps it’s simply an admiration of the absurd, I love the random connections the internet offers up.  Wasn’t there a blog or a website at one point where someone tracked websearches/webtrails and offered something akin to random tours of the internet?  Or did I make that up, hm.

  2. I might be a storiopathic reader; I feel compelled to own a copy of every book written by an author I really like.  I spent almost ten years hunting down one writer’s enormous backlist.  But it was fun, and made going to rare/used book shops an adventure.
     

  3. @Lynn:

    Oooh, I do this too. I think in the bookish world we are known as completists. For example: I’ve got almost all of yours.

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